I watched another Wayne Dyer lecture. I just can’t get enough of him. He was talking about the Tao Te Ching and his newest book, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” (which I also, hastily, went out and bought). At some point he said we must choose NOT to interfere with other peoples’ choices. We can only trust that they know what choice is right for them. He also discussed this concept in regards to parenting and the way we teach our children. I’ll never forget him saying, “This child came FROM you, but this child is not FOR you.” At first this stung my heart, and I couldn’t figure out why. So, I chose to sit outside and contemplate the idea to see why it stung and what I could do to understand it more fully.
Each child born to us is a being with a purpose. From the moment of conception, there is a personal destiny to fulfill. This is the reason behind Dr. Dyer’s view of non-interference. He has stated that our children will know what is right for them. The only time we should interfere is in dangerous situations. You shouldn’t allow your child to play with a knife he found in the kitchen or allow him to jump in the pool alone when he doesn’t know how to swim, for example. That’s just common sense. The example he gave during the lecture involved him babysitting two young girls and his grandson as they played in the pool. One would splash another, and the one who got splashed would come to him crying about it. He listened to their complaint but didn’t interfere in the interactions of the children. In the end, they all stopped fussing over things and learned to play well together without adult interference. I know the idea of this seems wrong to many people – at least, parts of it do when we think about all of the situations our child encounters daily. I’m still battling with it myself day-in and day-out as I try to raise my son in the best way I’m able.
A Personal Take on Things
I was writing my thoughts on the concept in my journal, hoping to find more sense in it all, and as I was writing, it was like it all unfolded so nicely. It didn’t take long, and I finally understood how it works. Here’s the portion in which it started to come to light:
“…as more days go by and he grows and shows ever more intelligence and independence, I realize he does have his own purpose on this earth. I see so much potential (as I’m sure every parent does), but I think about his development and wonder how he would be if there weren’t rules put in place. I remember why we started resorting to time-out. He would never listen to what he was told. (Here we were interfering, trying to control him.) But he needed to learn not to throw food, to clean up his messes, and to respect the people around him. He was getting really bad in all of these areas. I wonder if Wayne made his kids clean up. I wonder if he allowed them to mistreat him verbally or physically… but now that I ponder all of this, I am reminded that children learn from their surroundings. They speak the way they’re spoken to. They want to do what others do. They emulate and idolize the people who surround them. What awful role models we have been.”
If you’ll notice the “…” in my passage, that is where I broke off into thought and tried to picture Dr. Dyer’s children treating him badly. I realized I can’t picture anyone treating him badly, because his positive approach makes it damn near impossible for someone to treat him that way. That’s when I realized, while it may have happened with his children at some point in time, it must not have happened often. And the reason why is because they learned how to be through watching him, and he did not retaliate against the behavior (which would have probably made the behavior even more persistent.)
This was my AHA moment. I finally understood that everything my son was doing “wrong” were either parts of his learning the best way he knew how, or they were actions he learned from us specifically. We yelled at him when he didn’t listen to us, so he began to yell at us when we weren’t listening to him. We spanked him if he was getting too out of control, and he started hitting us when we made him mad. He doesn’t clean up his mess consistently, because we don’t always make it a point to show ourselves cleaning up or to ask for his assistance in doing so. This is the key to non-interference with children, I believe. We must better ourselves and live from our source so that our children can learn to do the same. (As for the throwing of food, I have no answers for it. It still eludes me. The only thing I’ve been able to think of is he’s full and just isn’t voicing it.)
Now To Start Practicing
I know it’s much harder said than done, and parenting is different for everyone – because each child is unique in the way that they are going to perceive the world around them and act accordingly. When I consider non-interference, I think there should still be times when a child is put in "time-out”, but it should be more of a positive time-out. I’ve heard from friends as well as articles (like the one listed below) that calm-down zones work better than the traditional time-out chair. If you’re unfamiliar with this idea of a calm-down zone, it means an area with blankets, pillows, or a couch where the child can sit and relax themselves. It usually includes books, and parents are encouraged to use it with them sometimes.
I also believe things can be taken away from the child if he misuses them – such as hitting someone with a toy car after being given a warning for such behavior. But is it really a big deal if he’s doing things that harm no one? We have a tendency to get overdramatic with our children. If they are constantly running around the house squealing or using their plastic tools to beat on the table or other toys, it might bother you – but they are harming nothing. I believe these are the times of true non-interference. It’s all about taking a deep look into how you are training your child to be. No matter what, there are key characteristics of this child that you will never be able to change. You must see your child for who they are and help to nurture that as much as possible.
As an end note, I had a bit of a breakdown after my son’s behavior this afternoon. I was feeling absolutely defeated and lost in regards to how I should handle the situation. In my time of need, I found an article talking about the defiance of a toddler and how to handle it. It helped to bring me back to earth and remember it’s all a matter of perspective. My favorite part was a quote the writer used,
“When a child behaves badly, she already feels terrible. Where did we ever get the idea that in order to make children do better, we first have to make them feel worse?”
If you would like to check out the full article, you can do so here:
And as always, please feel free to share your opinions and stories with me, whether in the comments section or in a personal message through the contact page. As parents, we are all learning the ropes together as our children grow and change. It’s this togetherness that will see us through.
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