Dear Me, About Punishing a Child’s Mistake…

“A child is a curly dimpled lunatic.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dear Me,

A dear friend just told me a funny story.  Her six and four year old boys came upstairs – all proud, mind you – to show her the results of their new game: barber shop.  With the help of his older brother the four year old had cut a near bald spot into his hair.  He proudly announced, “I can see my head!”,   like this was a good thing.

Naturally her instinctive response was to become angry with the boys, but then God reminded her that they were not being rebellious or even careless.  She had never told them that they were not to cut their own hair, so they had no idea that they had done anything wrong.  Yes, she would have to shave her preschool son’s head down to near baldness and he would look like a midget marine for a few months.  Still, God gave her the grace to display the two appropriate responses: One, to tell the boys that, in the future, we don’t cut our own hair (Or eyelashes.  She had to throw that one in because of a remembered incident with her sister.), and two, she laughed.

Girlie, please remember and internalize this story.  It is so important that you don’t punish your children when they make an innocent mistake (usually the result of the mistake is punishment enough!).  It can really damage their spirit and in child discipline you want protect that sweet spirit – even as you break their will.

So when you find the two youngest using Niko the dog’s food to play kitchen, keep your cool.  They are only 2 and 3 years old and don’t know it is wrong to stuff puppy kibble in their cheeks like hamsters. Think about it: everything they shouldn’t have, you put up out of their reach; the dog bowl is on their level.  In addition, eating it makes sense to them. Niko eats their left overs.  Shouldn’t sharing go both ways?  And now the mystery of why their poop has smelled like a kennel is solved!

Just laugh, correct, hug them tight – and try not to gag!

Love, Older Wiser you

This entry was posted in Child Discipline, Dear Me, Expectations, Kids, temper. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dear Me, About Punishing a Child’s Mistake…

  1. Dig says:

    Glad I read this post before trying to cut my own hair! (puts scissors down)

  2. Heather says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I had forgotten that this was the same child who used the scissors on his brand new shirt (not even from Goodwill!) the first day he wore it. I guess I had never told him about that caveat either.

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