“I have noticed that “a lack of” attachment and connection is often blamed for children’s misunderstood typical development. It seems to me, at least 95% of the behaviours that adults commonly deem as “acting out” or “attention seeking” are just typical childhood behaviours. Albeit sometimes loud, unsafe and messy, children are usually playing/learning when they are accused of “acting out.” Responsive parents then try to overcompensate, believing they lack connection, only to feel defeated since what was missing was not connection but an understanding of typical child development.” J. Milburn

Children throw food, they let go of your hand and run off in parking lots, they draw on walls, they try to flush things down toilets, they yell, they sing, they take up space, in your heart, your mind and your home. Children will hit people, including other children and sometimes animals. Most will go through a biting phase. Pretty much all children will have multiple toileting accidents. Children will dump toys on the ground with no apparent purpose but to make a huge mess.

Many will go through periods of preferring one parent/person over others. Most will go through a period where having the right cup/shoe/towel is a matter of life or death. Most will try to stay up later than they are supposed to. Most won’t sleep through the night consistently until they are over 2 years old. They will likely try to sneak sweets and cry when their favourite show gets turned off. Most will go into a full meltdown when told “not today” at the toy store.

Many children are not very keen about helping to clean up or taking care of their personal hygiene. They will wipe cheesie covered fingers on their white dress, even though you gave them a napkin. They will hold their ice cream sideways (yes, that 6$ ice cream) and when you try to help them hold it up straight, they will jerk it away, wanting to do it themselves, only to result in the ice cream toppling to the ground; followed by a flood of tears. When you tell them not to touch something or not to climb on something, most will do it anyways, multiple times. Many children will turn their nose up at gourmet cooking while insisting on living on a diet of three different foods (and snacks of course lol).

Absolutely none of these things are indicators that there is something wrong with your child, your parenting or your connection. This is how children are. They are gloriously uninhibited, curious and driven to seek autonomy. Once you realize how authentically they walk through life, you can begin to appreciate the beauty and innocence of childhood. If I thought every time my children didn’t “listen” to me that they felt disconnected, my gosh, I’d be drowning in parent guilt. Instead I choose to see my children as humans with a full range of emotions and behaviours that are reflective of their development and personal strengths and challenges.

Of course connection is often the answer but sometimes there is no answer, except 🤷‍♀️ they’re kids. Let them be kids and try not to pathologize typical childhood behaviour.