Why It's Hard for Kids to Listen?Jul 02, 2022
I met an old friend after a couple of years yesterday. While our kids played together, we did what one is wont to do with old friends, we got deep into our conversation.
Our hearts felt full as we went on and on about all the things that interest us. Our minds were completely wrapped up in our lovely conversation.
As busy mothers, we rarely have the chance to talk to another adult this way. And an adult we immensely enjoy, at that. In other words, we were doing what children do all the time, we were completely focused on our “task”, having a ball of a time. It’s as if nothing existed outside of our little bubble of intense conversation.
And then it happened. One of the kids needed to go to the bathroom.
I only heard him from a distance at first, even though he was right next to me.
I promise I wasn’t purposefully ignoring my child’s need to use the bathroom. My brain was doing it.
As my son’s protests to go to the bathroom intensified, I forcefully fought my brain and pushed another thought in it, “He’s going to have an accident if you don’t get up right this minute, Maryam!”
So I had to fight my brain. I had to expend extra energy shutting down all the feelings of joy and happiness I was feeling and instead switch my brain to the mundane task of taking my child to the bathroom.
Imagine how I did this. I forced my brain to switch its activity from “having fun” to “do something boring” and I did this by using my prefrontal cortex (PFC).
I engaged the synapses (neural connections) in my PFC that are responsible for rational thought (“he’s going to have an accident”) and adaptability (“I was doing something fun but now I must switch to something boring”).
I also sensed a feeling of rising irritation as I forced my brain to perform this task of switching activities.
In simple words, I used Rational thought and Adaptability. These are ADVANCED functions of the brain (located in the PFC).
Do you know which part of the brain in children is highly UNDEVELOPED?
They do not YET have the neural connections required to perform advanced prefrontal cortex functions. This area of their brain won’t be fully developed until they’re 25!!
My friends, kids don’t listen to us many times because they CAN’T. Not because they don’t WANT to.
If you believed everything I just said and are having a sort of “wow” moment- this is called a lens change.
Until and unless we have a lens change, that is, we view our children with kinder eyes, more compassionate eyes, we can’t truly become respectful parents.
Jab tak bachon ko naye nazariyay sai nahi dakhain gai... hum jis tarha un sai deal kartay hain, hum uus ko bhe nahi badal saktay.
If we keep looking at our kids behavior and blaming it on THEM, on their failure to CHOOSE good choices over bad ones, we will continue to be mad and resentful at them.
When we start understanding more about their brain development and start attributing their failure to do well to their brain’s shortcomings, we can start to see how we can HELP them do better.
Yes, it makes our job a little harder but who said parenting was easy? None of us currently have it easy either. But when we shift our roles from “yeller of commands” to “helper of executing commands”- we start to repair our relationship with our kids and as always, a beautiful relationship leads to a beautiful life. ?
More reading: https://www.thisnthatparenting.com/7-facts-about-your-chil…/