Understand the feelings, emotions and behaviours of our children allows us to connect with them. Connecting with our children validates their experiences and this is essential for the development of our children. When children are validated they then feel emotionally safe, acknowledged and this is at the core of flourishing in life. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to recognise the needs and not the behaviours children demonstrate. And this is hard work!
To help us understand this idea a little more it’s important that we have knowledge about the developing brain. A huge part of my work as a counsellor and psychotherapist offering parenting support is exploring brain development with parents and adolescents. Once we know more about this, we can have realistic expectations of children’s behaviour. For example the concept of sharing registers in a child’s brain at around the age of 3; it could take years for them to understand it, let alone be ok with it! And the frustration part of the brain isn’t developed until someone is at least 18 – kind of puts teenagers into a new perspective. Exploring this, and developing the skills and qualities to know what to do about behaviours and needs, creates families of understanding.