It’s my fourth day of babysitting my two year old son. He has taught me a lot of lessons in these four days and the most important one is – It’s not EASY!
He seemed to be irritated since today afternoon. Whatever I offered him, he rejected. I had no clue what to do to make him happy (atleast till my wife arrived). I offered him a toy. He threw it away. I offered another one. He threw that one too. Again I offered one more toy. Same reaction. But just after he did that, I happened to notice something that I had missed out earlier. And that was – He looked at my face every time he threw a toy to see my reaction. Then it struck me – Hey! My two year old is watching my reaction. He’s studying me!
I became more alert. He asked for a picture book of birds of which he says almost every bird’s name correctly. But when I asked him now, he said it all wrong. He does this often to express his displeasure towards anything particular and usually I correct him. However, this time I didn’t say anything. I calmly turned all the pages and finished the book. He again looked at my face. This time he didn’t see me irritated. Then I took his animal-picture book. This time he told all the animals’ name correctly. Now he was back to his normal mood and everything continued smoothly.
Later I contemplated on the entire situation and understood something. Before he expressed his irritation, he had come to me with something to play with. Since I was studying, I changed the topic and drew his attention to something else. I also got a couple of phone calls at that time. I thought I had managed to divert his attention and continued with my work. Later I realized how poor my observation was and how good was his.
What he needed was, like everyone else, attention. But when he didn’t get it, it hurt his feelings. His Ego was hurt. This resulted in anger, agitation and frustration. At this point, when I gave up my work and gave my 100% attention to him, I expected him to come out of his sorrow. But he didn’t; for, his Ego was hurt. And when I accepted and acknowledged his feelings as it is (without correcting him), it is then he settled down.
I feel this happens not just with children but with people of all ages. When someone’s feelings are not accepted & appreciated, instead reciprocated with harsh words, facts & advices, it hurts their Ego and they end up doing something strange or stupid.
Observe. Accept feelings & emotions. What a Learning from a two-year old!