Ever wonder why your child will sometimes go with the flow, nothing can stop her as she bounds off into whatever adventure awaits, while other times she clings and claws as if her very life depended on it?
K. N. R. can be the source of much discord for parents as well as children. The actual condition is often overlooked or misdiagnosed by well meaning parents and professionals. It affects almost 100% of children and adults at some time in their lives.
What is KNR?
Kid’s Not Ready.
Hard to believe? Consider this: Have you ever had a time when you decided to cease the struggle and allow you child to retreat from something, only to find that later on they approach it with the vigor and enthusiasm you’d hoped for initially? Kid wasn’t ready, and now kid is ready.
Does your child:
- Have vague reasoning when avoiding doing something you’d like him to experience?
- Shut down and revert to non-verbal responses?
- Make decisions based on “because I don’t want to”?
- Not perform up to the capabilities you and other adults have determined he is capable of performing?
- Are you having power struggles over what seem to be the silliest things?
These and other symptoms are often the result of KNR.
Kid’s Not Ready. This, quite simply, is often the reason you find yourself exasperated and your child frustrated.
What we often label as power struggles or stubbornness or shyness or insecurity is often KNR.
Sometimes parents view this as Kid’s Not Smart or Kid’s Being Difficult, when what is possibly occurring is Parent’s Not Listening. We all want out kids to be happy and smart and successful and socially adept. What we need to remember is that our children’s time frame is often different from ours and, in the interest of avoiding unproductive comparisons, other children’s.
From not being ready for separating from parents, or being expected to do tasks or academics that are beyond their current scope of ability, to not feeling ready to enter into a romantic relationship, these phases and stages happen throughout childhood and beyond. When your child is emotionally, cognitively and developmentally ready, the ease at which they approach these things will be worth the wait, patience and understanding it took to get there.
If you’re still not convinced that it might be something as simple as KNR, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you are totally baffled by your child’s behavior or response to something, ask yourself these questions:
1. Has this type of behavior arisen in the past? Is there a connection to how it’s showing up now? 2. Are there other circumstances where the initial response was this type of behavior, and over time shifted? 3. Is this inconsistent with how she approaches other, more familiar circumstances? Have other factors (fear, misunderstanding, dynamics) been ruled out?
Of course only you can accurately assess this. You know you child best, so give yourself some credit for all the great things you do to help your child grow securely into the next phase, and give your child some credit for acting on his intuition or performing to the level at which he is currently able.
What’s the best cure for KNR?
Your responses will of course depend on your child’s age and stage of development. The crucial factor to remember is acknowledging what you are witnessing is what will help your child process. This doesn’t mean you can force your child to be ready, but what this will do is build the trust that will aid in an understanding of what is motivating your child, and help your child attain what it is they need at the time.
Begin with what you see:
“You seem to be disinterested in practicing your times tables. ”
“Staying at preschool is hard for you. ”
“You’ve been invited to the movies with _, but don’t want to go. ”
Now the hard part. Wait. Listen. Leave lots of silence if necessary. This may not open the floodgates, but if you state the facts of what you see, and leave some space , your child has the opportunity to relax and think about the situation without the feeling of pressure or judgement.
KNR will show up throughout their lives, and with some practice, patience, and personal reflection, you and your child can navigate this unpredictable terrain called family relationships!
Natalie Tucker Miller teaches early education, adult education, and holds certifications in coaching. She believes that parents and teachers have many overlooked, undervalued challenges. As a coach and educator, she helps her clients and students uncover their true motivations, so they can enjoy what they do while inspiring others to their greatness! Visit her at http://www.UnParenting.com