Tuesday Tips for Parents
Shifting from Judgmental to Curious
Ok Burlington, Graham & all of Alamance County – let’s become a village to raise the Best Kids!!! It is our job to take on the hard stuff of raising our kids – together we can do this.
Join us today at 11:30am – www.facebook.com/skillz4kidz – live to learn more on ideas about how to do this Shift from Judgmental to Curious.
In the words of Whitney Houston, “I believe that children are our future…show them all the beauty they possess inside.” All too often, the magnificence of individuality is overshadowed by a need to meet the status quo. When a child exhibits behavior that is “problematic” or “difficult,” adults often assume the child is defiant. However, often, the child is unable to meet the requirements that are being asked of them. Instead of jumping to conclusions, adults should make an “aspect shift” and reframe how they look at behaviors.
On her powerful graphic “Reframe the Behavior,” Kristin Wiens, a Special Education Inclusion Coach, created a way for adults to begin the process of viewing a child’s behavior from a “won’t” to a “can’t, yet.” By becoming “stress detectives” and changing the adult’s mindset from judgmental to curious, we can make way for a more effective method of working with children. Kristin notes that as this happens, adults begin changing their views and thoughts about the child. Adults then shift from saying a child is defiant to becoming curious about what stressors or lack of skills the child has as a reason for expectations not being met. This simple shift can have dramatic results in how adults approach children and how they view themselves.
As adults’ thoughts change, they then begin to respond differently to the child. Instead of thinking of a child as lazy or attention-seeking, we begin to ask questions such as “How can I help?” This leads the way to what Kristin calls “removing barriers.” “Find stressors, reduce them. Find unmet needs, meet them. Find skills deficits, teach them.” As Dr. Stuart Shanker said, “See a child differently, and you’ll see a different child.” This approach helps the child feel supported instead of being frustrated and feeling shame. This method supports a growth mindset, which leads to more confidence, better behavior, and more cooperation. It’s a win-win.
When children aren’t living up to adults’ expectations, it’s important to remember that they are typically not doing it on purpose. By being mindful of developmental expectations, individual temperaments, varying learning styles, different personalities, etc., adults can play the role of detective. This will allow them to truly dig into what makes each child unique and how to help support them when things don’t go as expected.
Finding programs that take a whole-child approach inside and outside the classroom/field/etc can be very powerful as well. Many times coaches, teachers, instructors are very important people in a child’s life and can be a valuable part of helping to mold great people. You want people knowledgeable about a multitude of factors that play into a child’s life experiences, that can help be encouraging and understanding but also help to lay a strong foundation for each child by explaining expectations and holding children accountable in a positive way.