Today our yard care guys came. I just love them! The smell of fresh cut grass, a perfectly pruned yard, and I don’t have to do anything. Love it!
To help out, Alexis (11 y/o) and I went over to the swingset to take apart one of her “creations” that was hooked to one of the swingset’s legs. It would make it easier to trim around the unit.
We were working really well together until … Alexis barked at me. Ouch!
Now I could have yelled at her. I could have put her on time-out. I could even have ignored her, and just taken it. But, I didn’t. What did I do? I simply looked at her and let her know that was NOT an acceptable tone to use with me. We completed our job and went in the house. She seemed unaffected by our interaction, yet I was left feeling hurt. So, I said, “I’m going to need an apology for that.”
I could tell she was embarassed, and that an apology would not be coming in the next minute. I knew, however, that she heard me, and would come around when she was ready. And she did.
When we were alone, maybe 20 minutes later, she approached me and apologized. I let her know that it hurt my feelings, and I didn’t deserve that. We were complete. We had a quick chat about it … what was going on for me and what was going on for her, and we moved on.
The important part, for me, was that SHE felt the need to come and apologize. I planted the seed, and she realized she hurt my feelings, and came back to clean it up. Everything in life is a process, including raising children. It’s little things like this, giving them space to come around on their own (handled differently in different situations and with different ages), that allows them to grow without being shamed.
Let your kids know when they hurt your feelings. Let them know what happened when you were a kid, and that this reminds you of that time of your life (or whatever the story is). You’re basically asking them to care about how their actions affect another person. And you’re allowing them to develop the internal muscle that cares about cleaning it up. It’s a great life lesson. Play with it.
[Traci Carman is the Founder and CEO of A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference. Join her free monthly Q&A calls by registering at www.alovingway.com/monthlycall, and get your parenting questions answered.)