5 Things Your Kids WISH You Knew (But Won't Ever Tell You)

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Being a kid isn't always as easy as it looks.

As parents, you surely want the best for your children. You focus tremendous amounts of energy listening to parenting advice and trying to provide an ideal nurturing environment for them. That's why it's so frustrating when you see your child struggling and you don’t know how — or if — you can help.

Whether your kids share with you freely or not, maybe they can't articulate what they really need, because they don't fully understand it themselves. But if you could get into your child’s head, here are five the things they would want you to know:

1. They Need A Calm Home

As much as you invest in your child rearing, remember that the best gift you can give your kids is a stable home. Even if you're the best parent in the world, if you can’t get along with your spouse, you're jeopardizing your efforts.

The world is a scary place. A home serves as a refuge of love and support. If your home is chaotic, your children won’t feel safe. Your children count on you to provide calm, safety and security for them.

An unstable home can cause low self-esteem, anxiety, acting out and a host of others symptoms that your kids behavior may already reflect. Even if you fight with your spouse behind closed doors, your kids will, no doubt, experience anxiety. They can detect marriage problems. They'll know if you and your spouse aren't connected, even if you try to hide it. Make your marriage a priority — if not for yourselves, for your kids.

2. They Need Routine And Structure

They thrive on it. Developmental psychologists agree that an authoritative parenting style — a middle ground between authoritarian and permissive parenting — is the best for children.

Authoritative parents provide choices, but they also set standards. They create an environment in which their kids can develop self-confidence and success. Plus, kids trust that their parents will follow through and provide a sense of security.

If you find it difficult to enforce rules or establish expectations for your kids, realize that it's possible to grow as a parent. Stretch beyond your nature and provide for them the structure they crave, even if it doesn’t come naturally. You'll see a difference in your kids’ behavior!

3. They Feel Like A Failure In School (And You Criticize Them)

Being a kid is hard, especially in school — some kids are mean, making fun of others or excluding them. Yours may not always thrive in an academic setting that doesn't recognize their other, non-academic gifts. When they come home and you criticize them, they feel even worse.

While you can’t control their experience outside of the home, you can do your best to build them when they are with you. Instead of nitpicking and focusing on the negative, look for what they do best and compliment them. Children LOVE praise. It will surprise you how much positive reinforcement can do.

If you feel frustrated with your kids, take some time to explore why you're bothered. (It's often the case that our kids trigger us, reminding us of ourselves as children.) If you frequently got in trouble in school when you were young, you're probably extra sensitive when this happens to your kid. Don’t let your triggers blind you from your kids' needs — their circumstances are not identical to yours. Do you your best to get calm and assess the situation for what it is.

Another cause of anxiety with our kids’ shortcomings is the fear that they will never change. While vigilance is important, a hyperactive two-year-old doesn't indicate a high school dropout. Don’t jump to conclusions about where the behavior will lead. Learn what behaviors are developmentally appropriate for that age, address any issues responsibly and don’t let your anxiety cause you to treat your children harshly.

4. They Want To Please You

Even if it seems like your kids love getting under your skin, deep down they want you to feel happy with them. Little ones do not like to disappoint their parents, especially if they know how much you love them.

Focus on forming a strong connection with your kids, and they'll ultimately come running to you for support. Developing an open and honest relationship with your kids from a young age will let them know that they can always come to you with their troubles.

While staying cool is easier said than done, remember to keep the end goal in mind. (It will help you when you're feeling frustrated.)

5. They Need You As Their Best Advocate

When kids are argumentative, misbehaving in school or are having serious problems with impulse control, there's often an underlying reason for their unsavory behavior. Instead of punishing them, they need you to help them find out what's going wrong.

Don’t expect your kids to explain to you what's occurring in school or to connect those events and their poor behavior. Be your child’s best advocate by taking charge of the situation. Communicate with their teachers, talk to competent professionals, and ask your child about his or her day.

It's possible the issue started at home. Sometimes you need to pause and assess what's going on. How have I been relating to my child? Are his siblings mistreating him? Is he getting enough sleep?

It's easy to attribute negative behaviors to your kids' personalities, but that's selling them short. Kids don’t misbehave on purpose — from sensory issues, vision problems, nutritional deficits or bullying in school, if you look hard enough, you'll probably find the answer.

The purpose of investigating the root cause is not to excuse bad behavior with no consequences but to gain the tools necessary to help your kids become more fully-functioning individuals and get them the help they need.

While it seems endless, if you're able to create a calm home, provide structure and stability, accentuate the positive, develop a strong connection and act as their best advocate, raising successful kids isn't so hard.

To create a safe and stable home for your children, call Rabbi Slatkin at 443-570-7598 or fill in the form below.

This article was originally published at themarriagerestorationproject.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.