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What I wish I had known before I had kids

I wish I had known that my children’s behavior was a language – that their actions and words were telling me something about what they were feeling or thinking. I wish I’d remembered that they did not get up in the morning plotting to do things to frustrate me.

I wish I’d known that meltdowns and explosions usually meant my kids were tired, or hungry, or bored or frustrated themselves. I wish I’d known that they needed an adult to help them find the words to express what was troubling them. But they sure didn’t need a frustrated adult.

I wish I’d known more about child development, brain development and behavior. I wish I’d known that growing up is a slow process. I wish I’d known how each development stage has its own way of seeing the world. I wish I’d known that most times they saw things very differently from me.

I wish I’d listened more to what was true about their hearts and spirits and personalities than worrying about what other people thought of their behavior.

Dawn Hallman, M.A., executive director of the Dallas Association for Parent Education, dallasparents.org.