Since completing my Positive Discipline Parenting Teaching Certification, I have really learned some of the ways our old parenting methods were hypocritical. Let me elaborate on one experience between my husband and our kids from a few months ago.
Em was off doing something, and I think she was minding her own business, when L came up to her and hit her. There may have been a reason for his action, maybe she was in his space, or stole his toy, we don’t really know, but at 3 years old hitting is a common defense against those that have done something wrong. These moments are always good opportunities to teach the importance of keeping hands to ourselves. In response to being hit, Em hit L back. My husband stepped in, told her we don’t hit, and swatted her butt. This made Em very upset, and she would not apologize to L for hitting him, until Daddy had apologized to Em for hitting her. See the logic in her 5 year old response? See the hypocrisy in this scenario?
We tell our children “don’t hit”, but how often do we spank them out of anger, impulse, etc? Despite our best efforts, there are times when we falter and we may respond to our children in this way. After all, we are only human and make mistakes ourselves. When we do make the mistake, it is important for us to apologize. I’ll explain why in another post, another day.
Now what about her response? Have you discovered her logic? Well, L did something “bad” to Em, so in response she disciplined him by hitting him. The same way Daddy disciplined her for hitting L. She felt that if she needed to apologize to L for hitting, Daddy needed to apologize to her as well. But how often do we apologize to our children for the mistakes we make?
Sometimes as parents we feel that we need to “lay down the rules”, and by apologizing for the mistakes we make, we believe that we show weakness in our authority. This is really not the case! Apologizing for our mistakes is a wonderful opportunity to model for our children. It shows them that everyone makes mistakes, and displays to them the right way to make an apology.
Want to learn more about this? Check out our upcoming Positive Discipline Parenting Classes!