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I wanted to share a tender moment Brayden and I had the other day. Kaitlyn came to me crying because Brayden pushed her finger. It definitely wasn’t a situation that caused her any pain in the least, but I knew he had done it out of frustration, and that is not okay with me in the least.
I could have gotten really mad and sent him away to sit in his room for a while. I could have lectured him about his actions. I could have removed every privilege known to his mind.
And believe me. I kind of wanted to. Any sort of physical aggression by him on a younger sister is absolutely NOT okay with me. At all. I am a patient mother, but when it comes to this, I my patience runs out before it begins.
But this is also very uncharacteristic of him. He never touches people out of anger–even other boys who are egging him on. He just has great control in that way. I had a voice tell me to pause. I knew there was something bothering him. I took a deep breath. Then I told Kaitlyn to go play. I took Brayden into the office and close the doors so we could talk privately.
I took him onto my lap. I asked him if he had pushed Kaitlyn’s finger (if you are trying to figure out what that entails, I have no idea. I didn’t delve into how exactly you push someone’s finger, I just knew she said he had done that). He said that he had. I asked him why and he cried. Brayden takes his mistakes very seriously.
As we talked about what he had done and why it wasn’t okay, he told me he was feeling very sad. I asked him why. He said he didn’t know; he just felt sad.
I then went on to tell him that a great thing to do when we feel sad is to do service for other people. I explained that service makes us happy. He asked me how I knew. I told him that Heavenly Father had told us through scriptures and I had tried it and found it to be true. We talked about how we learn the word of God through reading scriptures and how he is a God of Truth and everything He says is true. Brayden then cried because he didn’t know how to read scriptures yet, and I explained that is the reason we read scriptures to him each night.
We had a great conversation. It was a tender moment where I was able to teach him some truths. I would have missed that opportunity if I had reacted out of anger instead of love.
Now, he was still required to ask for Katilyn’s forgiveness. He worried she wouldn’t forgive him, but of course she did (that is the great thing about two year olds, right?). He lost a privilege for being unkind to his sister.
But he also learned a great lesson during our talk. I also learned he was feeling sad. We practiced doing some service to see how we felt afterward, and he was able to learn that service does bring happiness.
This is an example of finding teaching moments as they come and taking the opportunity to teach them. Teaching moments are so much more powerful than sit-down lectures.
So as your children make wrong choices, remember to stay calm. Use it as a teaching moment–not simply as s punishment moment. Yes, there are consequences for choices, but that doesn’t require anger or retraction of love from the parent. Show love as you offer discipline, and your child will feel that you do it out of love. I don’t mean to lead you to believe the child will hug and kiss you and thank you for offering discipline, but the child will feel your love and know you love him.
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