What can we say when kids interpret something as being unkind, when actually it isn’t.
Here are 3 examples:
1. Setting a boundary and following through
(“Mum is being unkind because her words are firm and she won’t give me the lollypop”)
2. Necessary medical procedures
(“The nurse is not kind because she held my arm tight and gave me a needle and it hurt”)
3. Unmet needs
(“My friend is being unkind because she doesn’t want to share her doll with me”)
One of the ways we can help kids to learn what kindness is and isn’t, is to teach them to focus on the INTENTION of someone’s actions and the WAY in which those actions were delivered.
In the above examples, this may look something like:
1.“I can see that you are upset that you can’t have the lollypop. It might feel like I am being mean. I am not being unkind. I am being your parent and looking after your health and telling you that now is not the time for a lollypop. My voice is getting firm because you keep asking me even though I have already said ‘No’. My answer is still ‘No’. I love you, even when you are mad at me for saying ‘No’.”
2. “I am sorry. I know it might feel like I am being mean when I give you the needle. I wish I didn’t have to do it but you need to have this needle. I have to hold your arm firmly so that your arm doesn’t move if you get a fright when the needle goes in. I am not wanting to be mean to you or hurt you. I am going to be as gentle as I can and make it as quick and easy as it can be.”
3. “Your friend didn’t want to share her doll. That is why we ask first, so our friends can say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Just because she said ‘No’ it doesn’t mean that she is not your friend anymore or that she is being unkind. She just didn’t want to share her doll. Are there any things that you have that you don’t want to share with the people that you love?”
If you love learning about co-regulation and building emotional intelligence and resilience in children, be in touch about the Calm Coach training as you will LOVE that! You can start Calm Coach Level 1 online at any time and work at your own pace.