Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When to forgive your Child

(source: realsimple.com)

What happens when your child makes a mistake?  Do you get upset when they break your best lamp while playing indoor baseball (happened to me)....or when they back up with a broom, making a large hole in your front door (happened to me).  What is the best thing to do?

I can tell you when my kids did those things, I was not too happy.  But one of the incidents I completely forgave, and the other I gave a consequence.  The reason is that one was an unforeseen accident (the broom), and one was a blatant disregard for the rules they knew they should obey (not playing baseball in the house).

When your child has made a mistake and you can see that he/she already feels really bad about it, that may be punishment enough, depending on your child's temperament.   The reason is this:  a consequence gives the feeling that one has paid for the crime, and sometimes takes away guilt.  But some guilt is good, if it motivates them to not want to do it again.

So use your judgement....if the child already feels guilty about what they did and you can see that they probably don't need a consequence, you can just discuss it with them, and help them to make a plan to not have it happen again in the future.  Don't yell at them and try to make them feel guilty.  This is harmful.  Just notice if they are feeling bad, and ask them how to prevent future mishaps to help them not have to feel bad again.  (i.e. "Johnny, I can see that you feel really bad about doing this.  I understand that you made a mistake and I forgive you.  How can we prevent this from happening again?).

You want your child to know how to forgive others, and you can teach them best through example.  You also want them to know that forgiveness is available to them spiritually when they make mistakes.  So every once in awhile, consider forgiveness instead of a consequence if the conditions are right, and let their own guilt motivate them to do better.  It's good for them.

No comments:

Post a Comment