My Child Doesn't Understand

My Child Doesn't Understand

Have you ever tried to explain something to your child, only to walk away in frustration? Perhaps you’ve said to your partner or to your own parents, “No matter how many times I tell them, they just don’t seem to get it.” It happens for daily tasks and for common ideas. As adults, we find ourselves telling our children over and over:

     How many times do I need to tell you to brush your teeth?

     Don’t get so angry. It isn’t worth it.

      Money doesn’t grow on trees. Make a better choice with your allowance.

A technique that works great in many situations is to put your own adult reasoning into words.  We have already learned these life lessons. So our thoughts are sometimes automatic. We don’t say them aloud and sometimes we aren’t even aware of the thought process at all. When we brush our teeth, we are not consciously thinking it will reduce cavities and spare us stress at the dentist office.

On the other hand, children sometimes have ‘no clue.’  They do not know how to think things through. They are overwhelmed by their thoughts, feelings, and desires.

As parents, we are in an ideal spot to help our children develop reasoning skills. We can say our thoughts out loud as situations occur. This is powerful because the situations are happening naturally during our lives with our children. The kids can sense the authenticity in our words.

So for example, let’s say we want our children to keep things in proportion and not be angrier than situations seem to warrant. Whenever you are feeling mad during the day, say your thoughts out loud. “Oh rats. The light is turning red. I’m in a hurry right now and don’t want to wait for a light to change. How mad am I?  Well, I’m not as mad as yesterday when the wasp stung me. So actually, maybe I am talking myself out of being mad. Maybe what I am is frustrated. Maybe it is not such a big deal. Lights change every minute or two, so I am not really waiting very long. I’m going to let this go.” Then do it again in another situation, today, tomorrow, throughout the week.

Or our child doesn’t understand money.  We can talk through our decision making. “Oh, I wanted to get a new dress, but I only have so much money.  I’d rather replace my worn out shoes so my feet feel good. Maybe I can get a new dress later.”

The key is to use real situations. Do it over and over as opportunities arise.  Say your thought process out loud. Then when your child is struggling, you have this common ground to build on. They will be more able to join in problem solving with you. Our kids want to be just like us. So let’s show them how to think like we do.

Blog Disclaimer:  Please be aware that this blog contains general information. It is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as treatment or a recommendation or prescription for a particular child. If you have questions about your child, please talk to your pediatrician or seek other professional services.