Now, let’s talk about Child-Centered Design.
In a recent parenting workshop, a young mother was sharing an incident about her toddler.
“How old is your child?” I asked.
“He will turn three.”
“How old are you, mother?” I asked further.
“I am thirty.”
“No! You are not.”
She gave me a puzzled look.
“You are three, dear Mom.” I clarified.
When you become a parent, open a CCD – Child Centred Design in your brain.
What is A Child-Centered Design – CCD?
We design our routines, we design the layout of our homes, we design our annual expenditure and savings, we design our lives. While doing all of these, we pay attention to the needs of all family members.
As parents, our brains need a dynamic CCD. A CCD involves the trinity of observing, understanding, and acting, depending upon the stage of childhood your child is in.
OBSERVING: In his book INFLUENCE, Robert Cialdini tells the story of two brothers, Sid and Harry, who ran a dress store in the 1930s in the USA. Sid took care of sales while Harry headed the tailoring part.
Sid informed each customer when he entered the store about his hearing impairment. Whenever a customer would try any of the suits and asked the price, Sid would call out Harry, “Harry how much for this suit?” A busy Harry would look up from his cutting table and shout back “For that beautiful cotton suit, $42.” Sid would pretend he hadn’t heard.
“Forty-two dollars.” Harry would repeat.
Sid would then turn to the customer and inform “He says $22”. On hearing this, the customer would quickly pay for the suit and try to leave the shop at the earliest before poor Sid would notice his ‘mistake’.
Though the author used it to explain another phenomenon, I use it to show that we behave like this customer in life. Rather than giving thought to an inflated price of $42, we hurriedly buy the suit and help the menacing brothers.
Wait and observe the brothers. Observe your own thoughts and actions. Don’t fall for a $20 bait.
As a parent, mindfully observe your child (whether he is one, eleven, or twenty-one). Silently observing him each day will tell you more about him/her than his words.
Observation opens new personality traits of the child. Observation lets you contrast his behavior and compare his habits each day.
If you observe your child, you would know how he doesn’t like certain shapes, how the ring tone of your phone makes him cringe, how he slams the door in anger, how he/she hums a particular song in pain.
Give time to your mind to create a CCD so that you notice the subtle changes in your children which will lead to bigger changes in future
UNDERSTANDING: As I mentioned in the beginning that you, as a parent, are as old as your first child. You are as young, as fresh, and as inexperienced as he/she is. Make these traits your strengths, not weaknesses.
After observing, understand your child with fresh eyes, an open mind, and an unbiased heart.
Previous knowledge of your own childhood or other children might help but it should not form the basis of how you raise yourself and your child.
Your child is unique and so are you.
Your mutual relationship is one of its own kind and you must understand it to understand the emotions of your child.
The more emotionally intelligent you are, the better you will understand your child.
As a parent, you need to understand that a horse cannot be made to sing and cuckoo cannot be made to gallop.
If you have a horse and you love singing, you sing and cheer your galloping horse.
ACTING: Despite knowing what is right, it is not essential that we would act that way. The decisions that we take at the spur of the moment are far different from what we predict about our decisions.
If I ask you “when you see your toddler getting cranky or your teenager defying you, what would you do?”
I am certain that you would tell me that you would try to understand his/her emotions and calm him/her down with patience.
When such a situation actually arises, you might have had a long & rough day at the office, you might be having a headache, you might be worried about your parent’s health and when your toddler/teenager gets cranky/defiant, you scream at him/her and end up showing a slap. You knew what to do, you did what you didn’t know you would do.
Our ‘should self’ wins over our ‘want self’ and our actions mock our thoughts.
A CCD would keep you in sync with the child’s needs and help you switch off other concerns.
Learn more about my way of Parenting through “Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller)”