We live in a society that has a demanding and judgmental attitude toward parents and young children. Often, the attitude toward children in public is that they should be seen and not heard, that the parent should be 'in control' of the child's behavior and that children who are having feelings in public are a nuisance. In short, children are not really welcome. Their freshness, curiosity, and frank expressions of feelings are not seen as a gift.
In addition, the child rearing tradition that has been handed down to most of us sets us against our children when their behavior isn't convenient for adults. In the eyes of others, we are expected to criticize, grow cold, use harsh words and gestures, punish, isolate, shame, threaten, or physically attack a child who is 'misbehaving'. No parent really wants to act like an adversary to the child they love. We treat our beloved children in these ways when we can't think of anything else to do, or when we fear the disapproval of others.
There are certain situations in which young children often become emotionally charged. These situations include:
- Being with several people-with the whole family at dinner, at a family gathering a meeting, a birthday party, the grocery store, church, or temple.
- Moving from one activity to another-leaving home for day care, leaving day care for home, stopping play for dinner, going to bed.
- Being with a parent who is under stress-you can supply your own examples!
- At the end of any especially close or fun-filled time-after a trip to the park, after a good friend leaves, after wrestling and chasing and laughing with Mom or Dad.
The materials for this course have been reprinted with permission from the book Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox Building Connections, edited by Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae Copyright © 2006 EMK Press, all rights reserved. The complete 520 page book covering all aspects of becoming and being an adoptive family is available at Amazon.com.