You either take the time to respond to the need … or you find yourself dealing with the behaviours that arise as a result of the need not being met. Either way… you need to take the time.
How many times do you react or over-react and then find yourself thinking “I should have taken the time, I noticed that, I knew that” because when you don’t address the need, you find yourself dealing with the fall out behaviours of the need not being met. And often these are more time consuming, and less connective.
For example, my child was quite excitable as we approached bedtime, however I was tired, after a long day, I wanted MY time to start, (by the way, my time was relaxing watching some tv and checking my facebook!) He wanted to chat more at bet time, but I was keen to settle him.
I realised that fuelling my actions were worries of my own… What were my worries:
That he would be up too late and would be a Grumpy Grump Bucket in the morning.
That he would be tired in the morning and would refuse to go to school.
That I would be tired in the morning and I’d be a Mrs Grumpy McGrumpBucket as a result.
That if I did stay longer chatting, he would then want me to stay longer tomorrow night and every night after that.
And I was also resentful that it was now eating into the very short period of “my time” that exists in a day.
So I told him to lay down as I was now going to my bed and as I left, I knew there was a need there, something that he needed from me, but I ignored it, as I felt I’d given my all that day already.
Shortly after, (bang on que) he was up asking for a drink, I gave this and settled him again, this time with no time for chat. He was then up again shortly after, tearful and saying he had a sore tummy. This time is responded more empathetically. I told him to go back to bed, and I’d bring up some medicine and a drink. I did this, and when he was back in bed, I felt his forehead gave him a hug and said I had noticed he was a bit out of sorts today (out of sorts covers a multitude of random behaviours). He nodded and gave me a hug. I knew that I had actually known this earlier in the evening and if I’d responded to this before going to my bed, then I could have dealt with the “actual need” which was for him to felt heard and have his out-of-sort-ness noticed. I was able to say, “ahhh… now I understand, and when I feel a bit out of sorts it makes it hard for me to sleep too. I have something for that”! I brought out one of my crystals, (rose quartz) and said if he put his under his pillow it would help him to sleep. I also suggested I pop one of his wee pressy-on battery powered night lights and that I thought he needed an extra “friend” in beside him tonight and popped one of his teddies in beside him. He nodded again, (at this stage, to your child your now the amazing super mum with your “fixes for everything”) tucked again, with his light, his rose quartz and his extra friend, he was happy to coorie in and I knew he was much more settled and relaxed. However what I also knew was that had I taken an extra 5 minutes before I left him, the chances are he would have settled quicker and I wouldn’t have spent the last hour up & down seeing to him, because at that stage what I was dealing with was the behaviours that came from his need not being met, but the need still needed to be met… An unmet need stays unmet until you meet it.
I’m not saying that the next time I will have the patience, empathy, enough care in my near empty cup of care…we’re all human, and as such we will keep on making mistakes and getting it wrong. However maybe next time I might be able to dig deep, and give that extra 5 minutes to meet his need and that will hopefully help us both get a full nights sleep.