Children are naturally happy. They love to play. They love to be loved. When I counseled adults that have had problems in relationships, I often asked them how they received affirmation, acceptance, and approval as a child. Surprisingly many of them had a blank look on their face. After thinking about it for a while, they either said they didn’t know what I was talking about or said they had no recollection of such treatment by adults.
As a result, when they were young, they invented ways to get attention. At the grocery store watch how some children behave while riding in the grocery cart. Some will pull items off the shelf, scream, and even slap back at the parent. Other children sit there calmly and enjoy the ride down one aisle and the next.
The difference is how the parent related to the child. Often the misbehaving child was ignored and criticized. The child that behaved well had a parent who interacted, talk to him, and expressed loving gestures and words to the child. The behaved child had no need to act up because the child already was receiving positive attention from the parent.
Even in public some children are treated as pets. An adult would loudly scold, threaten or even slap the child. The child gets no better treatment than a dog that would not mind its master. The adult acts as if the child was an obligation and not a privilege to supervise down life’s road.
Such an adult would not want to be treated the same way as he or she is treating the child. Some of the misbehavior of the adult probably comes as a result of the way that adult was treated as a child. Some of the acting out of the adult may be as a result of anger projected onto the child. It could be that adult has unrelated issues and maintains an unhealthy self-esteem or mental state
No adult would want to be talked down to, verbally abused – especially in public. No adult would want to be jerked around by an arm and threatened in public.
Biblically speaking, children are a gift and the parent has a grave responsibility to raise that child in an environment of divine and human love. The only reason the child is unhappy is because that child is taught to be unhappy. The reason the child is unhappy and acts out is because of its own frustration and confusion.
Step one to such a solution is for the adult to realize that children are people, too. Children have feelings and thoughts. They need to be nurtured and taught. In a loving way they need to know what is right and wrong.
If children are to be treated as people, they need to be offered respect, honor, support, approval and affirmation. They need to be allowed to blossom in their natural direction toward happiness. Without this, a child will take a detour into a negative way of life and attitude.