My mother’s favourite expression is ‘A mother’s place is in the wrong’
It makes me smile and it is so easy to slip into guilt around motherhood and be tempted to fix things when they’ve gone wrong.
I has certainly felt like that for me.
I remember my daughter Scarlett left favourite dolls china tea set right in the middle of the playroom floor and went off in search of something else to do.
A rule in our house was that if you’ve finished playing with something, it has to be put away before you play with something else. I’m not saying I always succeeded with this one but it was a clear rule.
Shortly after she wandered off her brothers chased each other across the playroom and trod on the plates and cups.
She was devastated and said ‘It wasn’t my fault mummy. Now my tea set is broken and you need to get me a new one’
Woah – doesn’t that press some buttons as a parent? Not only will she not see that it WAS her fault but she wants a new one.
Don't we want kids to take responsibility and NOT blame us when they’ve made a mistake?
Other examples might be when they have lost something, hurt themselves or someone else or not done something they said they’d do.
They will come back with
‘You made me’
‘I didn’t mean to’
‘I didn’t hurt him’
‘It didn't do that’
So how do we help them to realise they did play a part in this and accept responsibility?
Here are 4 don’ts –
Here are 4 good ways to respond
What did I do with Scarlett? I zipped my lip with the temptation to tell her 'I told you so" and I said how sorry I was that the tea set was broken as I knew how much she loved it.
I got her to sweep up the broken pieces and throw them away.
Later at bedtime I gently asked her whose fault it was and, as time had elapsed, she was able to say it was hers.
A few days later we took some of her birthday money and bought her a new one. If you like this idea and your child doesn’t have any birthday money, you can get them to do some extra ‘jobs’ and earn some money for it.
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