Mingo has a running nose for couple days. I often use tissue paper to wipe his nose here and there. Sometimes it might irritate his skin. Today, he turned 21 months. At lunch time, I saw his dirty hands gets slippery, and had trouble grabbing the spoon. I got a piece of tissue paper and tried to wipe his hands. Interestingly, he shook his head vigorously before I even reached him. I laughed and explained that I just wanted to clean his hands. Then he nodded and gave his dirty hands to me.
With his experience in his 21 months of life, he resumed and concluded that the tissue paper was for wiping his nose. Before I had any move, he expressed himself that he didn't want me to wipe his nose. With a declarative I message, it helped him to understand what is my intention.
When we first built up the Thomas train table, Mingo was excited. He can be around the train table for like half an hour, playing trains. One day, Mingo suddenly started to deconstruct the railway. I stopped him a couple of times, but he persisted in doing so. After a couple of times, I decided to let Mingo "manifest" his inner urge.
After Mingo got those railway pieces done to the floor, he started to built his railroad. I was amazed that Mingo was so focused, finding the peg of each track piece, and then struggled to fit it into the hole of next piece. He eventually used all those pieces he got done to the floor. Then he grabbed his trains and started to play on the railway he just created. How amazing.
When I think back, why did I have to stop him the first couple times? I knew if it were his daddy who grabbed those rail track pieces, I wouldn't stop his behavior. Why? I presume that dad would know what he was doing. But my brain had a different presupposition for Mingo. My unconscious assumed that a 21-month-old's behavior about grabbing those pieces must be disruptive. I didn't even question myself when I tried to stop him.
Our brain helps us build up our reality through deletion, distortion, and generalization. The human brain makes presumptions utilizing these features, and it helps us from predicting the future. When do we start to have this function? Apparently, Mingo started presumption when he was 21 months. We are customized to think that everyone should understand us, what are our real intentions. However, if you don't say it out loud, often people can be confused about your actions. Children's presumptions and yours are probably very different. Declarative I message helps not only our children, but also family members, friends, and co-workers to understand your opinion.
The presumption is a typical feature of a human brain. Our unconscious helps us making decisions constantly with presumptions. It help us from the danger and allows us to make the fight, flight or freeze response. However, when we are facing children, we don't often know what our presuppositions are. Some might be right; some might be incorrect. It is okay that we start this way. When we are facing children, we can constantly check and become aware of our unconscious mind about children. Then we can make new realizations and presumptions about them. In this way, we will become parents with wisdom.