How Do You Talk With Children When They Make Mistakes?
Learning from our faults is a vital part of growing up and indeed our entire lives. Everyone makes mistakes, not just children. However, as parents, it is our duty to help our children improve and learn from their mistakes.
We want to instill good values and principles in them. Knowing how we can help our children learn from their mistakes is vital for their personal development. Adopting the wrong approach may very well lead to counterproductive results.
The key aspects to note for a successful approach include:
• Think before you speak
Be clear on what you would like to convey and address the child with love. Speak to them in the same manner you would like to hear from them in return. Above all, you should not speak to your child in an authoritative tone as this will just antagonize them!
• Ask your child whether or not he/she has thought about what he/she has done and if it felt right? They instinctively know when they do something wrong. But when you start to criticize them, they will rebel and become indignant.
• Differentiate between the important mistakes and the unimportant ones.
Mistakes can vary in significance – from stealing, lying, cheating or being rude to one’s parents to trivial matters such as forgetting to do things, not tidying up or help with clearing up after eating or not doing their homework. Thus, do not shout at the child for every little mistake – determine what is of value and what is of less value. Remember making mistakes can be a good thing as it is the only way they can learn!
• Do not keep on nagging them, but try a different approach.
If you have told your child on many occasions and there is little improvement, then clearly the message is not getting through, try a different approach.
• Determine the best way to deal with your child. No one knows your children better than you do! You will be able to determine the best way forward.
• Remember it is easy to point mistakes out but hard to correct them, it can take longer than you think.
• Let the situation calm down and then discuss the matter through as friends.
• Try to be open minded.
• Share with them the mistakes you too had made, let them know what you had learned from your mistakes.
• Praise them for being honest and for admitting their mistake.
When talking to your children, Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan explains, “Always speak calmly and use gentle words. Never use bitter and ugly speech. Use your words sparingly and speak with love and affection so that one day you will win [them] over. Otherwise you will not succeed.
Bitterness on your part will only serve to make [them] vindictive and harbor hatred towards you. [They are] helpless at the present time, but from within [they are] binding negative karmas to get even with you when [they grow] up. Love will work wonders for you although you may not see the results immediately. Just keep showering [them] with love and affection and later you will be rewarded with the fruits of this love”.
He further explains, “No personality [person] is a waste, but you have to discover what it is useful for. You do not have to keep saying, ‘You do not know how to make this sweet. You do not know how to do this and how to do that.’ But, instead discover what he knows.” Once you identify what your child is good at, then you should focus on developing those skills further. Do not nag them about things that they are not good at.
Children are very impressionable, so as parents the onus lies on you to mould your children into the great people they have the capacity to be.
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