Children Are To Be Seen And Heard


Children are to be seen and heard. One of my goals with blogging is to get this message out there loud and clear,  to be completely contrary to the saying “children should be seen and not heard”. I believe in this saying so much so actually that I believe children’s “unwanted behaviour” can actually be reframed as a positive guide for parents. Because I see “unwanted behaviour” as valuable signals to us. They are signals and indications of where our parenting attention is needed. Sort of as our invisible parenting guide (which we were never given!).  

Children can not articulate to us their inner world, they can only feel it and act it out. They need our help to learn how to regulate, process, and problem-solve. A moment which made me reflect on this, was just the other day when my son kept doing something I had gently asked him to stop doing a few times. I paused and I said “I can see you’re struggling to stop doing that at the moment, do you need me to help you?”, he thought for a moment, then he said, “yes I need you to help me, I am feeling frustrated and tired”. I could have fallen into the expected discipline of sending him to his room or something. But I would have missed this innocent need that was unmet, where he was simply feeling overtired and frustrated, and in need of my guidance to connect those dots. His behaviour wasn’t personal to him nor I, it was just trying to tell us something, and with that- help him to understand how his emotions can help him to identify what he needs in order to take care of himself. My son is 10 so a younger child may not necessarily be able to express their emotion in words, however by mindfully observing my child’s behaviour, instead of habitually reacting to it, I was able to consciously understand his inner world at that moment, and then help him to reach a calmer place. The “unwanted behaviour” stopped and our connection was that tiny bit stronger, and he had gained a little more understanding of how his emotions are there to help him meet his needs. 

If a child is continually repeating a behaviour, maybe they are asking us for some clearer boundaries, if a child is getting particularly upset about a situation, maybe they need reassurance, if a child is resisting something, maybe we need to adjust our developmental expectations. If a child is triggering us emotionally, then instead of reacting to them, we need to maybe realise that we are feeling triggered, take a moment to reach a calm place in ourselves, and then look at their world in a more observing way. So we can continue to be their coaches and show them that learning is a positive thing, even if we get it wrong a lot of times. It is not children’s responsibility to make themselves small and quiet to make parents feel better.

It is the parent’s responsibility to help children understand and feel safe in their inner world so they can thrive in the outer world.

I acknowledge though that this is not always easy, it takes practice and skill. I am trying every day to get stronger at this. 

Children don’t need perfect parents, they need authentic parents. Parents who make them feel seen and heard. 

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