Following up on yesterday's post, another example of ineffective parenting that holds true for humiliating children is embarrassing or chastising them for being wrong or losing. Again, my hope is that this is not a malicious attempt to destroy kids’ self-worth, but rather a thoughtless behavior that has been deemed an acceptable form of correction that has not been challenged for it’s validity. We go with what we know and we are often overwhelmed. So whether it’s because we feel worn down, depleted or defeated, persistently pointing out our children’s mistakes conditions them to avoid self-improvement because of the emotional consequences of being wrong or of losing. Think about it…do you know any adults who refuse to apologize or admit when they are wrong? My guess is that they were forced through embarrassment as children to recognize their flaws and the emotional outcome for them was that they were bad.
Naturally, we want our children to say they are sorry because apologies go a long way to healing hurt hearts. What’s the answer then? Tackling the problem through a technique called re-recording often works well. This is where we tell kids what we want them to be and over time they will be conditioned to comply. Here is a wonderful way to reframe a situation using re-recording where an apology would be nice, “Oh, I bet you’re sorry you hurt your little sister. You’re such a great big brother. I’m sure it was an accident. Sweetie can you give your sister a kiss? It might make everyone feel better.” More times than not our children would want to do the right thing and when they do and we reinforce the positive behavior with a hug or kiss, our kids will repeat the behavior. I tell people all the time that I know they love their kids, but I challenge them to ask whether they like their kids. Meaning: do we talk and respond to them as though we like them or do we bark out, “Shut up! Get out of here right now! Get away from me!”
Children need guidance from us and the best way to get desired results is to help them like themselves. People in general behave the way they feel. If they feel good, they are good. A great tip for helping kids avoid the win-lose concept is to promote “the winner” and “a winner.”
Years ago, my grandson struggled with losing so after each race where he won I would cheer, “I’m a winner!”
Initially, he argued, “No, I’m the winner!”
To which I responded, “You might be the winner but I am a winner!”
After about ten of these moments I forgot the drill and when he won I lamented, “Oh, I lost again.”
Here was the amazing piece…He said, “Nonni, remember you’re always a winner.”