Creating Complementary Behaviors

Much will depend on whether these body displays are complementary or not. Often the problems come when a parent displays parental gestures in front of his or her child's friends or peers, thus lowering a child's status in a pack it needs to survive in. Remember the kids getting a kiss from their moms at school? That kiss is probably sought by the child at home, but spells doom for the child when it's performed in front of peers . Complementary body language transactions are ones that assume compatible roles . For instance, when a parent tells a child to "Clean your room" and uses staring and finger wagging to make a point, the parent is adopting a critical, dominant role, which will seek out a submissive, compliant response If the child says, "Okay, sorry, Dad," hanging their head, dropping their eyes, and rushing upstairs with a dustpan and brush, the transaction will have been complementary

If the child rushes into the family room yelling: "It's nearly Christmas!" waving their arms and smiling, that child is firmly in instinctive, enthusiastic child mode To make this a complementary transaction the parent would need to respond in kind, for example, "Yay! I can't wait either!" and start running around the room and laughing

But what happens when the first scenario obtains a noncomplementary response? What if the first kid stares back at his or her parent, juts his or her chin, and says nothing? This will be the child going into stubborn rebellious mode, and it means the parent will need to go to stage two Or what if the second kid gets a response of "Don't interrupt me while I'm reading" and is mock-swatted away with one flick of the hand? Chances are that the child will look disappointed and a chance for building closeness between parent and child will have been missed

Continue reading here: Pushing the transaction

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