No Guilt Necessary

We can parent our children without purposely making them feel bad about being children.  We can give them good guidance without resorting to manipulative methods that use guilt, blame, or shame.  We can help them make their own choices about things while also helping them to see the better choice to make, the better life to live, the better way to do things, the better way to think about things, the better way to approach situations.  We can respect their autonomy while also holding them accountable for making respectful and responsible choices.  We can celebrate their personhood while also remembering ours.  So the next time accidents happen (spilled drinks, etc.) and also intentional conflicts (tempers flare, childish messes are made), let us remember that we can solve the problem, resolve the conflict, address the underlying issue, and fix whatever is broken (literally and figuratively) in a positive manner without invoking the power of guilt to do our bidding for us.  Our children will already feel any natural (and naturally occurring) guilt that they may need to feel in whatever situation is going on.  Part of our job is to help them respond in a constructive way to the situation at hand and to help them understand the role that normal levels of natural guilt (the good or healthy kind) plays in our life (which is to point us to a better path, in a better direction).  It is completely unnecessary (and counter-productive) to pile on more guilt or to use excessive external guilt as a deterrent for poor choices.  Natural and logical consequences speak for themselves, and they work (as do open conversations to address the real issues) without having to involve deliberate guilting, blaming, or shaming.

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