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Beyond Behaviors: Attuning to Emotional Needs
March 14, 2023
Good questioners tend to be aware of, and quite comfortable with, their own ignorance.
-Warren Berger

In Beyond Behaviorschild therapist Mona Delahooke writes, “When we see a behavior that is problematic or confusing, the first question we should ask isn’t ‘How do we get rid of it?’ but rather ‘What is this telling us about the child?’”

Imagine if each time a child’s behavior erupts in unexpected or disruptive ways, we could hear the child saying these words from Elita Amini Virmani, Holly Hatton-Bowers, and Ayumi Nagase

I have a need that is not being met. I might not know how to tell you that need in words, but I do know that I need you, I really need you to pay close attention to me, not just to my behavior, but to me, to my thoughts and my feelings. And I need help figuring out how to get this need of mine met.

With equal compassion for the adults, they also point out, “Many early childhood educators feel they are supposed to check their emotions at the door and enter the classroom ready to receive the children in their care unencumbered by their own emotional needs. But, can we expect early childhood teachers to attune to the emotional needs of young children if they do not attune to their own emotional needs first?”

They conclude, “It is only then, in the process of cultivating a compassionate understanding of and curiosity about our own feelings, biases, and perceptions, as well as children’s behavior, that the challenging behavior no longer feels challenging. We begin to acknowledge that it is okay to not feel okay and when we need help and support to be the best versions of ourselves as teachers.”


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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
Martha Llanos · March 14, 2023
Peace Ambassadors
lima, Lima, Peru

Finally in the Institutes,University settings it is the focus on the personal and socio emotional development of all adults that interact with children. So much emphasis on cognitive aspects and happy to see that thanks fo pandemic there is more thouths and awareness about the importance of emotional intelligence.
This is also reflected in children perspective of play,art expression and contact with nature.
All these aspects are going to be shared at the World Forum 2023 in Panama city from 2 to 5th may.

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