It is unrealistic to suggest that anyone who relates to children intensely, whether as a parent, close family member, professional or friend, can react perfectly every time. We all make mistakes. Fortunately, most children are resilient and learn over time through many experiences. What matters is that we do our best and that children have many more positive encounters and experiences than negative ones.
It’s worth remembering that the times when children are being uncooperative, difficult or challenging are the times when they most need adults who are on their side. Living or working with a young child is not always easy, but being a young child isn’t always easy either.
It’s also worth remembering that children will learn most from modelling, from observing the adults around them. Practise what you preach—children will learn more about how to be in the world from what you do than from what you say. Treating others the way you want to be treated, with respect, warmth and kindness, applies to our relationships with children too. A large dollop of humour and patience help.
What children need most from the important adults in their lives is respect, love, appreciation of all that they have to learn and of the many strengths they bring to that learning.