We Are What We Think
Let’s set the stage here…
Over the years I have taken in several teenagers either from bad homes or directly off the streets and have given them a home. Today we are going to use Alice (her name has been changed here) as the example. Alice was a temporary foster child, 12 years old. She had been badly beaten. Her mother’s boyfriend had been abusing her. Encouraged by her 13 year old boyfriend, Alice called Social Services and was temporarily removed from her home. She had been virtually living on the streets since that time.
Alice had developed some pretty bad habits. She lied often. She stole money to support her cigarette addiction. She manipulated everyone around her to get what she wanted. She had anger issues. Her entire life seemed to consist of lying, cheating, stealing, and manipulating.
Alice wanted to live with her father but he was afraid to take her in because he was also trying to gain custody of his 3 younger children, and he wasn’t in good health. He also knew about Alice’s propensity for being on the streets, and he didn’t have the parenting skills to keep her under control.
Does this make Alice ‘damaged’? Should we give up on her? What exactly IS wrong with Alice?
Absolutely nothing was wrong with Alice, except for her thinking. Except for her thinking, she would be a perfectly normal functioning 12 year old child.
Destructive conditions at home may have helped precipitate her messed up thinking, but the only part of Alice that was “damaged” was the way she used her thinking process, and that could change.
Nothing in the entire social services system is designed to help Alice, or any other young people understand how their thinking gets them in trouble, so that their behavior can change.
Thought Is Key
If not for their thinking, all teenagers would be wonderful human beings. Behind all behavior problems lies a certain type of thinking.
Hidden beneath the off-kilter thinking that makes people feel bad and gets them into trouble, lies that glowing ember of pure love and innate health. They learned to think their way away from it.
The only thing keeping kids from seeing and being in touch with their beautiful, inner healthy, loving energy deep inside them is their own thinking. No matter how bad or problematic their behavior.
Some would argue that in some cases physical problems or chemical imbalances or ADHD and other disorders cause some kids to behave badly. It is conceivable however, that the thinking could have preceeded the imbalance or disorder, or that people’s thinking stands between the imbalance or disorder, and the behavior, causing it to be manifested in different ways.
Children Are Always Doing Their Best
What we see of our children’s behavior is the way they have learned to respond to life. This learning is their own thinking.
They created their own way of seeing the world from how they were treated and what they were told, and what they took in as they were growing up, and they are just trying to respond the best way they know how. They don’t know how to respond any other way.
They are doing the best they know how at the time, given the way they see things.
Besides going out of your way to show the child love, you can also start to help them take a look at how they’re using their power of thought and how that thinking is affecting them. This will change the entire tenor of your relationship.
When you help a child look at how they’re using their thinking, their feelings and behaviors follow like dominoes, and change in constructive ways.
Unfortunately, most parents are troubled by their children’s behaviors, unable to find the feeling in their hearts they need to help their children see their thinking.
What Can You Do In This Situation?
First, you need to understand why kids behave the way they do. Your understanding of why children behave the way they do (and why you behave the way you do) will determine your effectiveness and satisfaction in dealing with them.