IF CHILDREN LIVE WITH SHAME,
THEY LEARN TO FEEL GUILTY.
It's a good idea to let our children explain why they did something instead of jumping to conclusions and blaming them. This approach is a better way to get the whole story, and it preserves their sense of self-worth!
We want our children to learn how to evaluate their own behavior and find constructive solutions to the problems they face. We can help them find concrete ways to take responsibility for their actions by offering suggestions – whether it's comforting a crying friend or paying for a broken window.
When our children are allowed to tell us the way they really feel, we are able to help them discharge negative feelings, move forward, and grow.
A sincere apology includes the acceptance of responsibility and a genuine feeling of regret, as well as the intention to make things better in the future. Make sure your kids understand tall three elements.
We can best correct and guide our children by giving them a better and more precise idea of what is expected of them. Instead of saying, "Clean up this mess!" try saying, "Could you help me by getting all the blocks back into the box?"
Most children understand when they have done the wrong thing, and it's okay for them to feel bad about it. Our job is to help them figure out ways to make better choices in the future.
Our kind acceptance of our children's faults, and our caring guidance in helping to overcome them, allows them to grow up feeling good about themselves, rather than ashamed.
It's important to notice and praise the efforts our children make to help restore a situation. We want to recognize and encourage their budding ability to take responsibility, rather than pointing out their shortcomings.
Given an abundance of positive, respectful reinforcement, most children come to understand that they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.
Each child has a basic right to express his feelings and to have his emotional needs met. As the child grows, this right is balanced by his responsibility to express himself in ways that are appropriate and respectful of others.
After a child has done something wrong, we should help him move through a positive cycle of apology – first taking responsibility, and then being forgiven.
We don't want to use shame in an attempt to control our children's behavior - that only makes them feel bad about themselves. It's better to ask for and applaud the desired behavior.
Fortunately, most children want to please their parents most of the time. Help them find ways to do so.
It's not our job to condemn our children. It's our job to teach and guide them – to set the rules and then to enforce them fairly.
Prolonged guilt and shame are not productive feelings. We want to encourage feelings that help point to a better way next time.
By taking full responsibility for your everyday actions, you provide a healthy example for your kids to follow. It's not always convenient or comfortable to do so, but it is important.
We want to help our children develop an inner sense of right and wrong, rather than teaching them through shame or guilt.
Shame and the resulting feelings – blame and guilt – are both negative and isolating. Let's encourage as many positive feelings as we can and stay connected to our kids.
Growing up in an atmosphere of shame and guilt is not constructive. We want to create a nurturing environment for our kids so that their desire to please others is encouraged.