Superman has x-ray vision. As a teenage boy, I thought that would be a fantastic super power to have! Either that or the power of flight. But there is another super power that parents can develop that might be even more useful. It’s called parent vision – the ability to look through our child’s bad behaviour to see the good kid inside. It enables us to see past the unpleasant and difficult behaviour and to peer straight into the upset emotions that caused it.
Sometimes little kids look like they are being naughty, but with parent vision you can see that at their age and stage, what they are doing is absolutely normal – they are just children learning how to behave, learning to curb their impulses, and learning how to get on with others. Use your parent vision to separate the child from the behaviour. The behaviour may be unacceptable, but the child is always acceptable. The behaviour might be awful, but the child is wonderful.
With your teenager, use parent vision to look past the nose-stud, look beyond the horror fashions, look through the disinterested and surly expression, and see with a parent’s eyes the heart of your child. It is not unusual for young people to go through an ‘unlovely’ stage, but with parent vision and an extra dose of parental love, you can see what is truly worthwhile and lovely in your adolescent.
This superpower can also be used for adults as well and might be able to allow you to connect and form closer fiendships.
How do you get parent vision? It comes with practise as you choose to understand your child and discover what’s really going on, rather than just reacting and punishing. You can tune it up by reading about the psychology of why children behave as they do. Behaviour has reasons. Sometimes it is a signal or cry for help, sometimes it indicates that the relationship between you and your child needs some work. And sometimes, with your parent vision turned up to maximum power, you can see that what they did wrong is just plain old fashioned mischief. Let’s not get too psychological – there is still a place in parenting for a telling off.
By John Cowan, The Parenting Place
Improving and equipping families to thrive.
Read more from John and The Parenting place here.