Very few of our original parenting philosophies and techniques have remained unchanged from our pre-kid days. Some were quickly discarded when fantasy and reality collided. Some notions were mildly tweaked or refined as we found our parenting rhythm. Still others came into being when we realized that we had many different personalities to parent and one size did NOT fit all.
But one of the few beliefs we held way-back-when that has stood the test of time (and many children!) is our belief about "Making it Right."
When one of our kids (or us, for that matter!) makes a bad choice of some kind (rudeness, stealing, disobedience, lying, etc.), we always go through a process we call "Making it Right."
It doesn't matter how trivial or serious the offense is. . .the simple steps remain the same:
- Demonstrate an understanding of what the wrong was
- Make restitution where possible
- Ask for and receive forgiveness
- Receive a consequence
Obviously, the age and maturity of the child, as well as the offense and even the child's personality factors into what those steps actually look like. But, largely, they remain the same.
For a younger child who breaks her sister's toy in anger, the steps might look like this:
- Be able to explain why hurting her sister by breaking the toy is wrong and what a better choice would have been to demonstrate anger or frustration
- Replace the toy with a like version, either of her own or by buying a replacement (sometimes this means having to earn money to replace the item)
- Acknowledge what was done wrong and ask for forgiveness
- Lose a privilege
For an older child who is rude and disrespectful, the steps might look like this:
- Be able to articulate why being rude and disrespectful isn't an acceptable behavior in the family OR in society and explain what a better choice would have been
- "Replace" the time a parent loses when dealing with this issue (doing a chore that the parent normally would, etc.)
- Look up verses about keeping a good hold on your tongue/honoring parents, etc., then acknowledging their error and asking for forgiveness
- Lose a privilege
And asking for and receiving forgiveness both teaches the concept of grace as well as drawing a line under an incident, which kids need when they blow it.
Heck, us faulty adults need that, too.