Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Show Faith

Show Faith is the Positive Discipline tool we are looking at this week.  The Tool Card says "When we show faith in our children they develop courage and faith in themselves.

For me there are two aspects to this tool.  The first, and most obvious, is to be used in an encouraging way.  Telling your children that you believe in them and know that they can do whatever it is that they are attempting gives them the confidence to go forward.  When they are faced with challenges, having faith in them allows them to face the tough stuff head on with courage.  My parents were great at this.  I never once thought that there was anything that I wasn't capable of doing.  They gave me confidence by believing in me 100%.

The second, and not so easy use, is to be used when our children are dealing with problems, conflict, loss, or failure.  To have faith at these times can be more difficult.  You are not necessarily telling them that you know they can do it, because they may be in a situation where they can't.  They might lose the game, or fail a test, or fight with a friend, or  get into trouble with an authority.  These are typical problems that all children will face at some point.  It may be at the park when another child steals their toys, or in middle school when another guy steals their girlfriend.  It may be due to a bad decision that they made, even after you showed your faith in them to make the right one.  Bad things happen, on occasion, to EVERYONE.  Life is not meant to be about avoiding all possibile mistakes or troubles, it is meant to be about learning and growing from those that you do face.

When we rescue our children, instead of letting them face their problems head on, we are not allowing them to develop the skills that are necessary to deal with hardships.  Writing a note to the teacher when your child doesn't do his homework isn't helping the child.  Standing up to another child who is not being as kind to your child as you would like does not help your child.  As Jane Nelson always says, "Children need to develop their disappointment muscles."  When your children face disappointment, they have the opportunity to learn from it.

I am not saying that you should completely abandon your children in their time of need.  Instead of rescuing them, trying to fix their problem, or even worse lecturing them about their mistake, you could let them know that you have faith in them to handle the situation.  You can show compassion, they learn this from you too.  Tell them that you can understand how they are feeling.  Share stories of when you have faced a similar situation, or just offer a hug or a shoulder to cry on.  Being there lets them know that you believe they are strong enough to overcome the obstacle.  Show your faith in them and allow them to learn, grow, and most importantly have faith in themselves!

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