Perspective impacts everything in many different ways. Something I have been trying to do regularly with my kids is putting myself in their shoes and trying to think about situations from their perspectives. This can help gleam insights into why they may be responding a certain way or at the very least it will help me empathize more with them.
Something we tend to forget as adults is that life is hard for kids too. You may reflect back on your time as a kid as the responsibility free time (I know this doesn’t apply to everyone). But you are also learning what it is to be alive and how you fit into society. These are big concepts for anyone to learn let alone a child. Then on top of that especially for younger kids have these waves of emotion that they are experiencing for the first time. This of course leads to meltdowns and tantrums because how else are you supposed to work through these giant spikes in emotion.
Thinking about the environment around you from your kids perspective also just allows you to get a feel for what your house feels like to them. Just how big the local park feels when you are so small. Towards the end of a walk with our daughter she got to run the rest of the way home. From my perspective as the parent I was on lookout for cars and making sure she was going the correct way back to our house. All of the things that you would expect of a parent in a given situation. But reflecting on the moment from her perspective later, the freedom she must have felt getting to just run and have this massive world start to open up to you. I could almost feel it myself, like a flash of what I had experienced as a kid and it felt really good to be able to provide her with that moment.
Something that I believe very strongly is that kids deserve to be treated with respect right out of the gate. Obviously you still need to be able to say no and parent but this all can be done respectfully. Forcing myself to think about what my kids are going through especially during a difficult moment really helps me as a parent to keep my cool. I do not always have the energy for the perfect response but I can at least respond calmly and respectfully. So far this approach has lead to me feeling really good about how I respond to my kids in tough situations and I hope to continue to use it to become more patient and empathetic.
This approach goes far beyond just parenting, doing this with anyone can help you understand better what is going on and how you should respond. It will once again provide you with empathy for those who are just trying their best and unintentionally wronged you in some way. It will also allow you to think through why someone did something which will help you catch on to potential bad actors more quickly as well. So in essence this can help you be kind to those who are just trying their best and avoid those who may have bad intentions. This all works because it helps you get to the why of an action instead of just the how did the action make me feel.
In conclusion shifting perspective is an approach that can allow you to understand your kids better. It can help you think back to your childhood and get reminders of what it was like to be responsibility free. It can also help you interact better with other adults as you begin to understand perspectives other than your own.
Let me know if you have used this approach with your kids or in life in general. Follow the blog to receive updates on when new posts go live!