Children aren’t monsters from Hell and teens aren’t aliens from Space

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Having a tough time getting through to your children? Is your teenager turning a deaf ear on you? Does talking to your children feel like speaking to a wall?

Bitten in school

Children aren’t monsters and teens aren’t aliens

Having a tough time getting through to your children? Is your teenager turning a deaf ear on you? Does talking to your children feel like speaking to a wall?

Young children are not little monsters and teenagers are not aliens from outer space. After all, as parents, we were all once infants, toddlers, young children, teenagers, and adolescents.

We did not arrive at adulthood overnight, but through decades of growth and conditioning. Being an adult is no excuse for forgetting how we had felt and thought during the various stages of growth we had been through before.

Be it with young children or teenagers, effective communication requires a willingness and effort on our part to understand them. As Stephen Covey wrote in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Children, teenagers or even adults want to be loved. When they feel understood, they feel loved. When they feel loved, they feel secure and have little need to prove themselves or to seek attention through misbehaviors.

Children are social beings. Their actions and behaviors are driven primarily by a need to establish a sense of belonging, to feel accepted and to feel important. According to Abraham Maslow, human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower order needs are to be met before higher needs can be satisfied. In the famous Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need to be loved follows right after physiological and safety needs, both of which are readily satisfied in most families.

Love and ‘belongingness’ form the primary source of motivation in most behaviors in children. It is basic human desire to want to feel accepted, to belong to groups such as family at home or circle of friends at school. Only after they feel accepted and loved that higher order needs such as self-esteem and self-actualisation become relevant.

Bigger Kid Teen Development