To live, for many, means to learn and to grow. We close one door as we open and step through another. Seldom do we have an idea of what lies in store for us at the next turn. This is both exciting and frightening for us as adults. Imagine how transitioning is for children.
As an oldest sibling, I can remember the various stages I had to endure of my younger siblings while they developed. Though they were the catalyst, I was often in trouble for how I responded to their tantrums or behaviors. My mother expected me to be guide, a role model.
Children have not been here before. They don’t know the rules and procedures. We provide them this. If we are not present and steadfast, they are robbed of much in the nurturing and development areas. I, as I am certain many of you have also, witness children on nearly a daily basis and wonder, ‘what in the world happened to their upbringing? Are the parents active in their lives or do they simply do the basics, ensuring the child doesn’t kill themselves or others before they turn 18?’ This is heartbreaking. In no way is the behavior the child’s fault if they are not receiving proper instruction and what future are we to presume they will have if no one steps in to save them?
Often we watch children have tantrums in stores, in parking lots, in church…everywhere. Yes, tantrums are a natural part of early childhood, but they must be addressed and not rampant. Our youth, to a large extent, are what we as a village have allowed them to become. This is why understanding each stage of childhood development and the effective manners of dealing with them in each is essential. There are tons of books, programs, workshops and other resources available to parents and guardians for education and support if needed.
I began writing children’s books as a means of reaching kids and helping them through characters and stories. My goals are to instill values and inspire good habits. But education is only part of the puzzle. It all begins in the home and that is where the reinforcement should be also.
Let’s make a conscious effort to pay attention not only to our children, but to the ones who we are in contact with on a constant basis. What stage of development are they in? What are their interests and patterns at this time? How can you be an influence in their lives? What might they be lacking that you can provide? And this is not in monetary form. Their parents may be young, inexperienced, tired or plain unfit. Encourage them to participate in community activities like baseball, soccer or basketball so that they can gain that exposure. Counsel them when you see or hear them doing wrong. Don’t allow the child to pay the price in the long run. By getting involved, we take part in promoting the well-being and success of future generations. By standing at the wayside, we are responsible for its progressive degeneration.
***Order an autographed copy of I’m A Big Boy Now for any child you know. Great for ages 3-7.