Is the glass half full or half empty?…..

Is this glass half full or half empty?

How we view this glass, gives us an understanding of how what lens we use to view the world –

If you see the glass as half full – then you will be the person who appreciates what you have , the people around you and will generally be a  generous engaging kind of person.If you see the glass as half empty you will be the person who complains, moans, expresses the negative side of stories, sees what others did not achieve rather than what they did achieve.

So what happens in a family when the parents are “half glass full” people and one of their children are a  “half glass empty” kind of child? First of all, parents battle to understand the behaviour of this child, because it does not make sense to them. They provide toys, and time, and will have some kind of routine in place, but still their child is unhappy a lot of the time. This may be expressed in extreme behaviour swings of self contained and engrossed in an activity and then temper tantrums. Little tolerance of a sibling at times and other times will be actively inclusive to ensure equal treatment of both. As a parent, we can be puzzled and exasperated as we do not “get” this child a lot of the time!

Which glasses do you have on?

How we view this glass, gives us an understanding of how what lens we use to view the world –

If you see the glass as half full – then you will be the person who appreciates what you have , the people around you and will generally be a  generous engaging kind of person.If you see the glass as half empty you will be the person who complains, moans, expresses the negative side of stories, sees what others did not achieve rather than what they did achieve.

Last week I received a call from a Mommy who I had coached last year for a few months. Back then, we had worked on organizing a daily routine and creating individual time for her two toddlers just 11 months apart in age. Having established all the above, the family were ready to stand alone and really enjoy life.

Now the presenting issue is the kind of behaviour that can disrupt family harmony as it feels one is “always on this child’s case”.

As I listened to Mommy describe her woe of her son getting intensely upset if she did not find his drawing the best (in comparison to his younger brother’s) if his car was not the fastest, the best colour and so on. If she does not “say” what he wants to hear, he will start to cry to the point of being out of control. He will tear up the picture, throw the car away, be aggressive towards his brother. She was battling to understand where this competitiveness streak had come from and how to deal with it! She is not enjoying being coerced to compare her two boys all the time!!

A lot of his behaviour is acting out his need to be seen, to be noticed, because he feels he is in the shadow of his happy-go-lucky little brother who definitely sees the world from the perspective of “the glass half full”

The only way the older brother is going to begin to have this perspective is if he is allowed to shine as an individual.

So creating opportunities for him to do an activity alone with Mommy or Daddy, to have a special time of day to look forward to, to soon be in “big school” while his brother is still in nursery school, all help give a little distinctive time when his “glass can be filled up” with what matters for him!

If we count this glass of water as an emotional bank – he is presently running on a deficit because he experiences his brother with him all the time. When we fill the emotional bank up with dedicated time, consistent acceptance and praise of good behaviour and calm intolerance of the aggressive behaviour during these early years, we are investing in our children’s ability to cope with the outside world as they mature.

So what to do when the behaviour spirals out of control. Embarrassing your child in front of others breaks self-esteem. So we need to be conscious of the power of our words and actions as parents all the time.

For this Mommy, she needs to take her son away from the public place where this “melt-down” has taken place. Calmly and firmly taking him to a separate room or area where you can talk to him calmly saying something like ” I understand you are upset about #### but screaming and hitting is not acceptable. I am going to count to five and then I am expecting you to stop this behaviour” Count slowly and calmly for him to hear it like a heart beat. If he has started to calm down then take him into your arms, and comfort him and praise him for calming down. If he has not calmed down, then crouch down at his eye level and get eye contact with him and explain the counting to five again and keep hold of his hands and eye contact. This will help him draw breath and start to slow down.

Then comfort him.

Before going out of the room, instruct him to apologise to who ever he has hurt with words or physically hurt. Going with him , holding his hand and ensuring the full attention of the other person, is key in him learning this process of self-control.

In the early weeks of learning this new way of being, Mommy and Daddy will need to carry out this process many times until their son has matured enough to implement his own self-discipline. When he feels himself getting angry, to find the words to express it without hurting the other person and if necessary taking some time out before engaging in the activity or discussion again.

Of course as parents we are being watched all the time for how we deal with our relationships and our children will model their behaviour on some of what they see from us!!

Is your glass half full or half empty?

About parentcoachsa

Steph has over 30 year's experience working with families to design child care solutions and supporting parents to be the best parents they can be. In addition she has worked with corporates to find work-life balance solutions for their staff. As a practitioner I have become increasingly aware that work-life balance has become a critical issue, particularly in an age in which the demands of work are often at odds with home and family life. I am passionate about family life, it is the catalyst for every other relationship we have - in every other area of life, we expect to study, get a qualification, try something on appro , we want to feel in control - however it is the one area of life, that none of the above applies - Babies do not arrive with a parenting manual! It is my privilege as a Parent and Life Coach, to partner with you as you take hold of the challenges you are facing in your family, in your life and work with you , supporting you to achieve the decisions and outcomes you are choosing for your family and for your life. It is my job, to keep you on track, to cheer you on, when the "going gets tough". Through coaching, understanding of yourself and your child, and his or her phase of development will enable you to consciously develop a parenting style that will benefit you and your family.
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