Ever slam a cabinet to make a point? You were responding to a frustrating situation. You were frustrated because you either didn’t know what to say or didn’t want to waste your time trying to say something since no one was listening. In your pain, this behavior (slamming a cabinet) seemed to make you feel better. That’s called signal behavior.
Our children use signal behavior for similar reasons. When life is confusing or frightening and they don’t know how to talk about it, they signal. Some children withdraw while other children lash out in anger. It’s called flight or fight.
The job of the training parent is two-fold. Deal with the behavior if it is unacceptable and then take the time to find out what’s going on in the life and heart of the child.
The goal of the parent is to spend two decades teaching the children how to talk about their lives and emotions. The child that is able to express his heart is the child that will make a great spouse. If not….
Tomorrow: How to begin opening the doors of communication.