“I’ve got two rules about children…
Number one: You never involve children in things over which they have no control. It makes them feel helpless and creates anxiety and depression, and
Number two: you never involve them in adult issues.”
~ DR PHIL
As with many parents, while these rules have always been the same, our intelligence or awareness may not have matured in time for us to be called great parents.
How smart is it to say we want to teach our children the wrong things? How obvious is it that we want the best for our children?
Of course, most of us go into creating a family with the intent of doing right by our kids. And, yes, there are some people who should never even be called a parent.
The fact remains that all of us could use some schooling on the whole parenting issue, and, yes, there are some people who are not doing right by their children.
Still, most people who set out to have a baby do so simply so that they can share their love and support to one of their own.
Even the best of parents will slip up from time to time; sharing information that was not meant for their tiny ears. Perhaps a loved one did something wrong, a bill cannot be paid, an upset happens in the family, or a world issue is overwhelming. There are a number of things that you could handle on your own… without involving the children.
So how do we correct the wrongs we have chosen?
It’s simple but hard…depending on when you figure it out. If a child is young, chances are the issue will be forgotten quite quickly once you have a talk with them. If your child is much older than ten or eleven, you’re probably going to have a give-and-take type of conversation. Older children don’t bounce back as easily as young ones …depending on how big the issue is and whether the issue gets resolved or continues.
Here are some steps you can take:
- Apologize to your child for anything you put on them; ensuring them that you’ve got it handled and everything will be alright.
- Give an example of how you may have felt in their position.
- Share with them why you should’ve kept the information to yourself.
- Tell them that you never meant to make them feel concerned or scared by sharing such a difficult issue.
- Take care of whatever needs to be handled. Don’t let the negative, perhaps scary, event continue for them. Figure out a way to handle it without them.
- At the very least keep your future conversations between adults.
Basically, explain to your child what you did wrong. A parent who is willing to show that they are not perfect, that they have taken a few steps back and realized what they did wrong, is a parent who is willing to grow with the child.
In the long run, this might actually help a child. Seeing their parent presenting their flaws may encourage the child to be willing to share when they do something wrong in the future. Knowing that accidents and faux pas’s happen to all of us may encourage them to not beat themselves up when they mess up.
Our main job as a parent is to make our little ones (and many times older and bigger ones) feel good about themselves, to be happy about their environment, and to give them structure at home and away.
A child just wants to be heard, to feel important to you, and to be loved.
So if you have anything to share with them, make it count.