Take a minute to think about your healthiest relationships. When you finally get free time to hang out, who do you choose to be with? Is it someone who:
Wants everything her way?
Has no opinions of his own?
Cannot restrain her strong emotions and actions?
Does not feel thankful for what he has?
Of course not! Our healthiest relationships are with people who show mutual respect, confidence, self-control, gratitude, and more! They are not perfect, of course, but they are inherently good people.
As a parent, you are raising a future friend/partner. Remember, these qualities are formed from a very young age and have everything to do with how we choose to discipline our children. Children act out in order to learn what is and is not acceptable. They are not perfect, but who is? Our job is not to punish, but meet their upset with loving guidance.
Please guide your children to understand that when they mess up you still love them, even though you do not love their choice or behavior. Don’t brush the misbehavior aside. Address it. Practice what you want to see. Then practice again. When children act out, they are telling us they haven’t mastered that particular skill yet, whether it be self-control, patience, confidence, etc. They need practice! Anyone who wants to get good at something practices. A baseball player practices. A musician practices. A dancer practices. The same goes for children. If you want your child to become a good person, help her/him practice!
Rebecca Eanes says “So often, children are punished for being human. Children are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes, yet we adults have them all the time! We think if we don’t nip it in the bud, it will escalate and we will lose control. Let go of that unfounded fear and give your child permission to be human. We all have days like that. None of us are perfect, and we must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves. All of the punishments you could throw at them will not stamp out their humanity, for to err is human, and we all do it sometimes.”