Please Don’t Guilt My Child

Dear Friends and Family,

My request is simple.

Please don’t guilt my child.

Yes, you read that right. I don’t want you putting guilt on my child. When it comes to manners, I am a huge advocate. Trust me.

I am also a habitual apologizer. Every other sentence that comes out of my mouth is “I’m sorry.” It’s not that I don’t mean it, it is quite the opposite. I truly think I did something wrong. This is a mixture of caring too much of what others might think and feeling like I am always about to do something wrong. I don’t want my child to feel that way.

So when you come for a visit and my child would rather run around instead of sitting on your lap, please do not say “Fine. I won’t visit anymore.” When I hear that, my stomach turns. My child is only a year and half old. He doesn’t understand everything yet. There is a time and a way to teach him to sympathize with others. Making threats is not one of them. We want you to visit, and we know you will continue to visit. When you are not getting the reactions you were hoping for, please don’t use phrases that have manipulative connotations.

  • Follow him and get down to his level. He loves it when others interact with him. He will even grab your hand and show you all of his favorite hiding spots.
  • Show an interest in what he’s running towards. If you ask questions, he will respond. It may even coax him to go towards you.
  • When he is eating a snack and denies you a piece after you ask him for some, please don’t say he is naughty for not sharing. Consider yourself lucky he did not offer you a half chewed blueberry. It is not that glorious.
  • There are other ways he can learn to share. Pick up one of his toys, and offer it to him. If you find a book, open it up and offer him a spot next to you so you both can read it together. If you have a snack, ask him if he’d like some.

I’m not trying to steer away from discipline, I just truly do not see what is wrong with my child discovering his independence. He will learn from what is right and what is wrong. It is also important for him to understand what he has done that is right and what he has done that is wrong.

I want to instill positive reinforcement. I also want to show him manners in stages because his mind is still developing. By showing him the absolute worst outcome at first instance can cause fear, and down the road, continued guilt. I don’t want my child to anticipate that he will do something wrong. I don’t want him to apologize for everything like his mother does.

Whether intentional or unintentional, I hope you understand.

His Mama

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