Monday, August 30, 2010

Understandable, but not acceptable

Today's entry concerns dealing with the behavior of my two-year-old daughter. Don't get me wrong—for a two-year-old, she is an extremely well behaved kid. I am talking here not about biting, kicking, screaming, and such—which she does not do—but about comparatively minor issues such as getting angry quickly—which she does.

In my response to her outburst, I believe that I have been confusing two very different things. Often, I understand exactly what she is irritated about. I empathize, and I let the behavior go unchallenged. It is as if understanding why she is acting out makes acting out acceptable.

No, what I just said is a half-truth. Understanding why she does something makes me believe that it is not her fault, and she should not be scolded for it. What I had not realized was that there are possibilities beyond scolding and doing nothing, and these include explaining, even if she won’t fully comprehend.

Sometimes, it is appropriate and necessary to call out behavior that you understand but do not condone. Teaching kids to cope—including coping with today’s emerging problems such as stuck YouTube videos—is part of our duty as parents.