“If we are not protecting them, we are failing them. It’s that simple…and that complex.” –Dr. Dana Perkins
Children are vulnerable and it is up to the adults to protect and nurture them. To give them what they need to grow and flourish into well-balanced, healthy individuals who are capable of standing on their own. They make mistakes. We, the adults, make mistakes in raising them. How we react governs how they react. And steers the mindset about the mistake that occurred and their attitudes toward mistakes moving forward through life.
We are all human and we will all make mistakes. No one is immune from it. Kids need to know that. They need to know what to do and how to respond to mistakes they make constructively. Perhaps not pain-free but with minimal pain, shame or embarrassment. They learn those responses from what they observe (what we do when we make a mistake) and from what we teach them in the way of responses.
If a child makes a mistake, and we go off the rails. Then that’s the response the child expects on every mistake in the future. What are the odds of admitting a mistake when you know the trusted adult in your life, who has authority over you, goes off the rails? Slim to none.
But if the adult reacts with reason. Listens and hears. And then gives the child a plan for responding in a positive way, what are those odds? It might look something like this:
Acknowledge the mistake. Talk through it. Why it happened, how it happened, what exactly happened. Discuss it. Then affirm why it was a mistake, and what must be done about it.
Responsibility must be taken and, if possible, wrongs righted. Apologies offered. Truth accepted. Responsibility acknowledged and the results accepted.
After things settle, another discussion on lessons learned. How to avoid making that mistake again. The coping means for moving forward.
Then—the all important—forgiveness. Can’t pretend the mistake didn’t happen, or that it didn’t cause pain or worry. But all that can be done has been done, and now we know how to avoid the mistake again. We have learned from it. So we remember the lessons, forgive ourselves and others for the mistake, and we carry all we learned forward with us.
Kids can understand. They can be taught constructive coping skills and they need the air cleared as much as adults do. Consider these efforts investments. Investments in your children.
Because raising them is a privilege, and there is only a short number of years allotted to influence them, their actions and decisions. Invest in the child now, or deal with the broken adult later. Protect them, giving them not what they want but what they need, or fail them.
The choice is, as stated, that simple…and that complex.
Note: Her Deepest Fear is experiencing a glitch at Amazon and not showing up. It’ll be back, they hope, today. So Many Secrets is showing up and is available. Sorry about this, and I’m sure Amazon Kindle is, too!