Remember how it felt to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy? Maybe you took some old blankets and built an entire castle, where you battled dragons and giants for hours on end.
Kids have a unique and wonderful way of viewing the world. Their opinions can surprise us, and sometimes, even we adults can learn from their innocent logic. It’s especially important for parents to take time to understand how their own children view the world, help them interpret what happens in it, and encourage them to express thoughts and feelings.
Between the ages of three and five, children develop motor and social skills, as well as an ability to imagine things and think visually. Ability to follow directions and comprehend and express feelings emerges at this time. Patience is needed during the preschool stages of development, because most kids can’t tell time yet. Five minutes can seem like eternity to toddlers, and whining may happen because they don’t know how to verbally express their needs yet.
Even for older children, the ability to multi-task or change focus may be difficult. Ignoring a parent’s request could be unintentional; sometimes their intense focus on something they find fascinating keeps them from hearing others. What might be interpreted as difficult or disrespectful behavior might simply be a child trying to make sense of their world. Remember, though, that each child is different, developing at an individual pace and showing unique abilities.
We can all be better parents simply by trying to see this enormous, amazing world from a child’s perspective. It can help us understand what they need, what they want — we can even learn a thing or two by listening. Taking the time to visit with your children is not only letting you know what is going on with them, but it shows you respect their opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
An article by the Australian Childhood Foundation for raisingchildren.net.au, “Through a child’s eyes,” outlines some things you can do as a parent to find a balance that benefits your children:
- Help them develop and grow, by respecting and appreciating them.
- Ask your kids about things that affect their lives. As they get older, allow them more say in decisions that impact them.
- Show them how to take on responsibilities.
- Remember that children think and feel differently than adults.
- Children need to feel respected in order to build positive self-esteem.
- Appreciate and celebrate their individuality.
- Always ensure they feel safe and protected.
Childhood is a magical time, but it can also be a time when the difficulties of life are a challenge to young minds. Serious things like divorce can be hard for a child to understand. They may not know what is happening when their family life is fractured. Often, children believe that the unhappiness and turmoil surrounding them is somehow their fault, that they are the cause of their parent’s separation or divorce.
It may be obvious to an adult this is not the case, but to a child whose world is forever changed by events they cannot fully comprehend, it is not. There are many helpful articles on weLife, covering topics related to kids and divorce, from videos on “Telling Our Kids About Our Divorce”, to articles like “Keeping Your Divorce Family-Friendly,” “Blending A Family,” and many more.
Dealing with loss can be another challenge for young ones. According to the article, “Loss from a child’s perspective,” posted on Cruse Bereavement Care website, “Children and young people need to be given the opportunity to grieve as any adult would.” The key points to keep in mind are:
- Babies can experience feelings of loss.
- Be honest with a bereaved child or young person.
- Avoid using metaphors for death.
- Every child and young person’s grief is unique.
- Encourage the child or young person to talk about the death and how they feel.
- Children and young people may ‘revisit’ the death and review their feelings about the bereavement as they develop.
- Use language that is appropriate to the child or young person’s age and level of comprehension.
The resilience of kids is remarkable, though, and often we find their viewpoints surprising, even funny. Carol Tuttle, Master Energy Therapist and author, revisited answers given by a group of children when asked by professionals, “What does love mean?” in an article titled, “Love from a Child’s Perspective.” Even with something as complicated as love, kids can boil it down to a few simple words. “Love is that first feeling you feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way.” Or, “Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”
There’s also a short, playful video on Huffington Post made by a mom showing her 5-year-old’s romp on the playground, “‘An Afternoon At The Playground’: A Child’s Perspective.” It is a great reminder to all of us how the world looks when we’re little, and – more importantly – when we fall down, it’s okay to whine and cry a bit, then pick ourselves up and jump right back in, quickly forgetting the pain we just experienced.
Oh, to be so resilient.