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Oopsie-Daisy: The Caring Way To Correct Mistakes

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

So, I recently babysat for a friend’s children. And, while they are great kids, the key word here is not “great”, but rather “kids”. And, with that said, changed (at least for me) the dynamics of what it means to go out for dinner.

Rather than a relaxing restaurant with a little mood music, lighting and decorative ambiance, not to mention some au currant culinary dishes and beverages, we wound up at the local (albeit excellent) pizza joint, and instead of a booth, wound up sitting on stools in the midst of the walkway. Then there was deciding on what to eat, and how much each of us wanted, the inability to sit still, and of course the soda, which I wound up wearing. True, the spillage was a complete accident, and while I may embellish, they weren’t too much trouble at all.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t (at least for a few moments) frustrated and angry. All I wanted was a peaceful supper after a long day of work, and instead my work (for the day) seemed to be just beginning. And, while I do enjoy conversation, I can say that I was tired of hearing myself speak by the end of the evening. But, as my friends tell me, it’s all part of the pleasure of parenthood.

But, it wasn’t that “pleasure” comment that surprised me, it was actually my willingness to help out again, and more so, my instinctual “ability” to keep my cool when I was showered in Sprite. I even found myself laughing in spite of myself when my friend’s precious daughter implicated that that mishap was not her fault but the soda’s fault instead. And, when I suggested that I (too) was to blame for placing it too far from her comfortable reach, found she was more than happy to assign me the blame.

And, while initially “cute” (and normal), experts note that this behaviour, if allowed to continue can be a surefire sign that your child is on the road to being “irresponsible”. In fact, professionals point out that good parenting means not only “correcting” kids but teaching them to fess up to their mistakes….the sooner, the better.

But, with that said, they add that these typical responses from children, are likely in response to typical reactions from parents. Most of us adults have little tolerance for “mistakes” and, when it comes to our kids, are rarely reluctant to express it. But, carrying on is bad for both of you. In fact, all it teachers them is that when you do something wrong, you illicit a response of anger, yelling, screaming, belittling, and that will ultimately get you both chastised and punished, and “rejected”; and they take that “lesson” into everything they do, learning to avoid taking responsibility and telling the truth at all costs.

With that said, experts suggest teaching lessons in a kinder, gentler manner by first affirming that everyone makes mistakes, and that (well, depending on the degree and severity of error), mistakes are okay, but that we need to follow up by correcting the damage that was done. Suggest your child take part in making things better, but affirm him or her with a smile, hug, and/or kiss. And, try to keep this disposition no matter how often your child “tests” you in a given day or weak. Keeping your cool is all part of helping your child take responsibility out of respect and “obligation”, not fear, helping him or her build character, personality and self-esteem, and your relationship. Plus, keeping calm helps your mental and physical well-being as well.


Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Oopsie-Daisy: The Caring Way To Correct Mistakes

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