Get On My Level Bro!


Hey there folks!


So today I have another heavy topic to talk about. To those of you that know me or have been reading me this should really come as no surprise, but here we go. I was binge watching some TV as I am prone to do and in this particular show a family was learning how to deal with a child that had autism. This meant something to me because I have an autistic nephew so I could relate to this at least a little.


One piece of advice the parents in this show received was to learn how to engage their son on his level as opposed to forcing him to operate on their own. At first this made a lot of sense to me as I thought about the interactions I have had with my nephew, but then I thought to myself how great an idea that would be for anyone you are trying to teach. Obviously this would be most applicable to children but it does not have to be exclusive to them.


As a child, I asked a lot of questions one of the most popular was why. I would get so angry at my parents when they would shoot back with, “because I said so”. More often than not I was not asking these questions to be a smart ass. I was simply trying to understand the world around me and the guidelines I was expected to act within. However, when they gave me that answer they were not trying to come to my level and walk me into understanding of the situation, they were simply telling me to conform to their level.


I am sure everyone has had a similar experience in their life, but just think how differently it could have been if the person in charge didn’t simply force their paradigm on you, but rather stepped into your paradigm and led you into their own. In the end, aren’t we all happier when people try to relate to us on our own level?


It just seems to me that so many issues with children, especially teenagers, stem from the fact that very few people are trying to relate to them and their experience. The funny thing about this is the fact that we all went through the same thing. Our parents were irrational, barking orders at us instead of trying to understand what we were going through, and nothing they did stopped us from rebelling. So then we grow up and have children and do the same thing to them that our parents did to us that didn’t work the first time. I am not saying that I do not realize how unreasonable and ridiculous teenagers can be. I also know that we as adults understand what they are going through, but if we are honest with ourselves we will recognize that we let our emotions cloud our perspective and make us forget sometimes.


I know that life gets busy and it is hard to juggle all the demands that are placed on you, but interacting with your child should never be a chore. A lot of parents will use the title to validate themselves when it is convenient, and make excuses as to why they cannot do this or that because the kids keep them so busy. However, I have seen just as many parents make the above argument on the phone and then sit their kid in front of the TV while they get on the computer.


You set the tone for the relationship you have with your children throughout their entire life. This was something that my parents did well when I was younger. At 5 years old I got excited to play t-ball. Neither of my parents had any interest in athletics of any kind, but they signed me up to play. For those first few years I was terrible, absolutely terrible but I enjoyed going out their and I was making friends so they kept me in. As years progressed I got better and my father ended up becoming a coach after he bought some rules books and read them cover to cover, and my mom got involved with running and organizing the league I played in. Baseball became a shared family experience for more than a decade because they decided to let their 5 year old talk them into signing him up for t-ball.


Admittedly, I have no children of my own, but I have lived under the same roof with my brother for several years and he has five, so I have been Uncle Jason for quite awhile now. I know from my experience that it never mattered how stressful or annoying my day was, when I got home and that little one ran up to me and grabbed my finger to lead me into their room where they were playing nothing else mattered. Watching their eyes light up because they knew I was going to sit down and play with them made everything else fade away at least for awhile.


At the end of the day you can get mad at children for acting like children, or you can remember what it was like to be a child and help show them how to become an adult.


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