Stress reveals immaturity and competence in kids. Today our parenting expert and psychologist, Dr. Partridge, shares the reactions of 2 children from different families in his book, Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child. Find out who's immature and who's competent. Then ask yourself, "How would my child react?"
Parenting Stories from Dr. Partridge:
Times of stress often flush out clearly definable elements of competence and contrasting immaturity in children.
1. Kelli was the nine-year-old daughter of neighbors. Recently her beloved grandmother died. When we dropped by to offer condolence, it was clear her loss was real. But bereavement seemed to bring out a new level of caring and responsibility.
"I don't know how I'd manage without Kelli," her mother said. "Last night she fixed dinner all by herself and cleaned up afterward. While I was at the funeral home today, Kelli vacuumed the entire house. She has taken full charge of feeding and diapering her baby brother."
While we spoke, Kelli entered the room and, without affectation, embraced her mother.
The sudden loss was bewildering and painful to Kelli. Nevertheless, she was acutely sensitive to the suffering of others.
2. Wendy, also nine, had been referred a few weeks before her maternal grandfather died.
The evening after the death, Wendy's parents had to visit the funeral home on short notice, and Wendy's favorite babysitter was not available. Wendy exploded with a half-hour tantrum.
As grieving relatives gathered at the home, Wendy drew attention to herself by refusing to wear any of the clothes in her wardrobe. She took advantage of the disruption in the family routine to clean out all the sweets in the house, balked at her routine chores and went to the neighborhood convenience store, which had always been off limits.
By the time her grandfather died, we almost had her behavior at school under control. Now she began acting out again in class.
Some thought she was displaying out-of-control behavior once more due to repressed grief. I thought it unlikely, however. Her grandfather had not been around enough for Wendy to really get to know him.
Wendy was simply taking advantage of the pain of others and the confusion in the grieving family to wage an all-out campaign to retain infantile behavior patterns. Pages 25-26
Which child is yours more like? If Wendy is your answer, please consider picking up Dr. Partridge's book, Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child. He has the solutions you'll need. If you follow his suggestions, everyone in your family will feel better including your "Wendy."
Let's APPLAUD Dr. Partridge for helping parents with out-of-control children!
What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for creating family mottos? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.
Jean Tracy, MSS
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