Many people think that fights between toddlers and parents, and toddlers tantrums come up because of a mismatch between what a toddler can do and what he understands. I want to challenge you to consider that a small child understands much more than you ever dream he or she could. It is certainly difficult for a child just learning to talk to express his observations and understanding. This is frustrating. But it is even more frustrating to observe parents just to ignore what a child can express, and to refuse going an extra mile helping to find the right words and explanations.
I want so suggest that you look for the possible mismatch between the toddler’s expressions and your understanding. Listening is an important skill, consisting partly of observing, partly of asking for clarification and partly of the willingness to hear and to see what you can hear and see. This perspective may help to transform a toddler’s tantrum into an opportunity.
If you do not listen to your toddler, how do you expect your toddler can listen to you. If you do not explain your views and reasons, how do you expect he can learn to reason. And if you regularly impose your will by force, how can you expect your child to behave peacefully.
There is another way to live with your child than fighting permanently. And it is more enjoyable for the whole family. For a very powerful explanation, watch this video. Open your heart.
Racism is unfair and stupid. If you believe that racism can be justified or fair, please leave this page and go to meet people who agree with you. I am not going to waste my time with a racist. And racism against children kills personalities and is a form of child abuse. Child abuse is a crime.
Racism comes in many disguised. It can look like a desire to help. Even demands to give preference to colored people in certain situations can be a sign of racism because implies that they need special support. Whenever a person, child or adult, is judged by skin color racism occurs. People should be judged individually by their behavior, skills and intentions.
Racism is a Fact of Life
An African in Germany has to perform much better than an ethnic German to be successful. Even with unparalleled excellence he will have a hard time to perform well as a supervisor for ethnic Germans, because he needs to spend an unbelievable amount of energy to make Germans accept him as their boss. Racism is common in the German society. But still, I insist that skin color should only be a topic in health and skin care.
The Victim Mentality Trap
Racism can easily create a victim mentality. Finger pointing is not helpful. It hands the responsibility for the own well-being to others. And these others have indeed their own priorities and interests. This victim mentality creates a lot of excuses. It hammers into the heads why we cannot succeed, why we must fail, why we do not have any opportunity. This mentality locks people out of success and happiness.
Victim Mentality is a Trojan Horse
As soon as this victim mentality is established in a person, others can control thinking and behavior. The result is often a disaster for the victim. Racists call their targets
- undeserving and without purpose
- existing just by mistake
- lacking opportunities
If they see an opportunity might open for their target, they quickly strive to close it. After holding their victim trapped for a time, possibly even forcing him or her to ask for help to survive, they present a carefully crafted “opportunity.” This so-called opportunity pulls and pushes the victim now into the position where the racist wants him or her to be.
Really bad groups like Al Qaida or their German Nazi brethren set up such traps. But so do seemingly benevolent groups. Religious sects might use it for indoctrination. Secret services might use it to recruit informants. Companies might use it to fill scape goat positions. The case of the former UBS-trader in London Kweku Adoboli could be an example for the latter.
Official Use of the Victim Mentality Trap
The proceedings prepared for asylum seekers and refugees in Germany are one example. The incoming refugees are not allowed to work. Instead they are forced to accept donations from the government. Later they receive a permission to look for work. But the Agentur für Arbeit, the relevant government agency, has to approve every employment offer they get. Under current law jobs are only allowed for them, if no German jobseeker can fill the position. If this law is implemented according to the letter, it is a crime for a highly educated refugee to use his skills. If there is no qualified job without a German applicant available, he can be forced into any job not wanted by Germans. His idle skills become quickly stale and useless.
How to Protect Our Children from the Victim Mentality Trap
If we want to provide a happy and healthy life for our children, we have to keep them out of the victim mentality trap. They have to know and believe that the world is full of opportunities, able and willing to provide abundance for everybody. We have to teach our children to spot their opportunities and to make good choices for their life. But how can we to do this in a racist environment?
If People Choose to Be Ignorant, Let Them Be
Racism is a subcategory of stupidity, and there is no way to forbid stupidity. The world is full of stupid people, and quite a number of them are stupid and outright bad. We cannot change that, but we can protect ourselves by keeping such people out of our lives. We and our children should be for racists as invisible as possible. This demands to choose carefully where we live, with whom we connect and to which child care centers, schools and universities we send our children.
Turning a Challenge into an Opportunity
We know that our children have to perform better than their indigenous peers. So we have to equip them accordingly. We have to provide an environment where they can develop excellence. We need to act as an anchor of stability and demonstrate emotional strength.
We need to provide a strong role model. We need to develop and teach excellent problem solving and crisis management skills. Problems and crisis will certainly show up. Racists will certainly try to attack a successful ethnic African in Germany in many ways.
On this basis we can help our children to develop excellent intellectual skills. It is very important to allow them exploring the world. We should forever replace the sentence “You cannot do …” with “I show you how to do …” or “we will find out together how to do …”
- We help our children to train and develop their senses from day one. The quality of their thinking cannot be better than the quality of the information input. And the senses provide the information input to the brain.
- We allow our children early on to make decisions. We ask do you want this or that. We respect their decisions whenever possible. We show them that they are important. Our children are certain that they count and they learn to consider carefully what to ask for. They learn also declining offers.
- We maintain an open atmosphere in our environment. We appreciate different point of views and respect people with different opinions.
- We help our children to understand the behavior of people. They should know that people can be helpful, but also careless and bad. The standard we set as role model is very important.
- We should never use deceptive behavior towards our children and never tolerate deceptive behavior in our sphere of influence. This will improve our quality of live in a big way and support the development of our children.
If we remain vigilant and open minded, we have the opportunity to transform the energy racism directs against our children into a strong drive to help them develop their full potential. Although racism is painful, we are not going to complain. We are going to succeed without asking for permission.
Child support means to facilitate the development of a child according while respecting the child’s needs and preferences. Facilitating development is very different from trying to be the boss of the child. This came first into my mind the day my son was circumcised. But I think every mother and every father can relate to that, because there are so many instances in a precarious life of a child where you are very well aware that you could just have lost your child right now. This could be a sudden spike of fever, or a toddler suddenly running towards a street.
These situations led me to think about the report in the Bible where Abraham was ordered by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, for whom he had waited a hundred years to be born.
Why would God issue such a seemingly cruel order to Abraham? One might think God wanted to remind Abraham about His power. But I think this is a wrong interpretation. In fact I think that this is a profound message of freedom. God says “this is my child, you are not the owner. I just entrusted you to care for this human being.”
God has a track record of giving freedom to all of us. He tells us what is good behavior, but He does not force us to behave accordingly. By telling us that we are not owners, but caretakers of our children he reminds us that our children are also free. Our task is to facilitate our children’s development and growth. But we do not have the right to force or push them into a direction, even if we know that would be a valid way for the child’s life.
We have to respect every child as a person on his or her own, as somebody who is just new to the world. He or she is still building the own body and mind. Our task is to support the child by providing the physical and mental environment needed for development, and to act as a guide. But we should not try to act as owner or master of any child.
If you ever mused about the relationship between music and language, this video should prove to be very interesting to you. Watch it. It takes less than 6 minutes.
Did you ever sit in a car together with three people, chatting lively in a language you do not know at all?
If yes, and you dared to listen, you may have observed the connection between music and language first hand. You probably heard their conversation as a remarkable piece of music, with different overlapping rhythms and several melodies. Even if you did not know the topic of the conversation at all, you may have realized some emotional reactions like happiness and anger.
If you think about it, this must be the way a small baby experiences Mom and Dad talking. The child will then slowly isolate patterns and connect these patterns to certain actions, people and objects.
These associations between sounds and actions, persons, objects etc. are the roots of words. Language is then something like a system of socially sanctioned associations between certain sounds, graphical symbols, people, objects and their relationships.
But not everything we experience can be expressed in words or pressed into commonly shared concepts. Music helps in those moments. If we keep music as a part of our life, we keep our brain open for imagination, creativity and innovation. If we lose the ability to listen to music, and to listen to the world as music, we impoverish our lives. On the other hand, if we retain the ability to listen to the sounds of the world as music, the connection between music and language will help our brains to open some subtle relationships between things, actions and people which we would most probable overlook overwise.
Brain Development in a child happens at a very fast pace. And it is for this reason often said and in the meantime widely known that the first few years in a child’s life have a very high importance for the complete lifetime of a human. This video is a reminder and a guide for parents.
But all this begs an answer to this question:
How can I support brain development of my child?
The answer is simple and difficult at the same time. And it is not, as you might suspect, proper teaching. The answer is learning. But learning mostly done by the parents. To support your child properly, you have to learn communicating with him or her from the beginning, to see his needs, his anxieties, his happiness, his aspirations. And to learn how to respond to them by providing a secure environment, cheering successes, fostering self esteem and confidence into the world.
Your child has to develop a sense that he is welcome in your world as the unique person he is already way before birth.
If a child is trying to do something impossible, it is always better to show him how it would be possible, or how it could be dangerous instead of yelling “Don’t try this! You are too small, stupid, weak for this!”
For a wealth of actionable tips how to support the brain development of your child, sign up to our newsletter. Our subscribers receive as a welcome gift Phil Rowland’s book