There are so many ways for kids to learn. They learn in schools, in church, on the playground and in the home. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way knocking academia, religious instruction or peer lessons, but I beleive the most crucial environment for learning, is the home.
Parenting is about being a facilitator, helping to lead your children to find their own answers.
When parents teach their children how to find their own internal guidance for determining right and wrong, it shows a child the pathway, the method, the reasoniong involved in making good decisions. They will need those skills as they get older so they are equipped to figure out the complicated issues that life presents.
So how can parents do that?
You do that by implementing boundaries and letting go of always needing to be the one who teaches the lesson. Sometimes circustances and life lessons are the most powerful teachers there are. Let the results of a choice teach the lesson. Let the pain on someone elses face tell the story. Teach children to identify and listen to the feelings of apprehension they felt before misbehaving. This teaches values, and gives children some awareness of their impact in this world.
The emotion a child feels after being exposed for doing something wrong is their expression of remorse, sadness, or guilt, it’s not an additional part of the problem that must “Stop right now!” Crying and being very upset becasue they’ve been told they have to fix or repair something they did, is perfectly normal. That’s when they need us the most. Be there for them, be supportive, but keep the boundary in place. That’s how children learn, through experience.
During the tween and teen years, when it’s time for you to pull your influence back a bit and let your child have some freedom, you’ll be so relieved that (s)he knows how to find out whether the situation, or the action (s)he is about to take is appropriate or right for them.
It’s too late to start this process when their tweens and teens, begin now when they are small. You’ll be so glad you did!