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When I was 7 years old I was in the kitchen and my mother asked me to check a burner on the stove to see if it was hot. It was an electric range and when it’s hot the burner turns red. I put my hand on the burner and severely burned the palm of my hand. My mom immediately became hysterical, rushed to thrust my hand under cold water and repeatedly yelled, “Why would you do that? You’re supposed to put your hand over the burner, not on it!” I just said I was sorry and continued to cry. I do not remember why she asked me to check the burner, although I do remember her repeating why. Why indeed? My instinct was to place my hand on the burner to see if it was hot. I’ve never experienced a burn before, and therefore, never knew what to expect if I placed my hand on a hot burner. I know now. I have no malice towards my mother, I adore her, and she only did what any mother would do in that situation.
If we ask ourselves why a child would do something, our answer will always be instinct. Why did that kid chase his ball into the street? The answer is instinct. According to the child his ball is bouncing away and he has to go get it; he’s doesn’t care if a car is coming and as far as the child is concerned cars stop when kid cross the street. As parents we need to accept the “why” and build a relationship based on understanding and nurture. For example: “Sweetheart, I understand you want to go get your ball if it goes in the street, but you can’t go chase the ball because the cars can’t see you. If your ball goes in the street come and get daddy and I’ll get it for you.” You can then demonstrate and have them stand on the sidewalk while you duck down between the cars, roll the ball out and then run to get it. Children are smart and they’ll understand.