Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Amelia Peabody & Positive Discipline (Or, More Parenting Through Literature!)

(Originally posted at Rational Jenn)

Here's a great quotation from Crocodile on the Sandbank that very  nicely illustrates the "A Mistake is an Opportunity to Learn" (aka "Yippee Mistakes!") principle from Positive Discipline.

One of the characters, Evelyn, is telling the story of her recent past errors and the ruin of her reputation. When Amelia Peabody is not shocked and disgusted by Evelyn's ruination as expected, Evelyn asks in surprise:

"And you are not repelled by my ruined character?"

Amelia replies:

"I do not consider that it is ruined. Indeed, the experience has probably strengthened your character."

THAT is precisely the right attitude we should have about our own mistakes and those of our children and loved ones. We all make mistakes. How we deal with them--whether or not we acknowledge the reality of what has happened, whether or not we are just to those we may have wronged, whether or not we endeavor to correct our ideas or behavior so that we don't repeat the mistake in the future--determines whether our mistakes will strengthen our characters or not.

As parents, the attitude we take toward the mistakes of our children will help them learn and practice making similar choices about their own mistakes throughout their lives. Our attitude should be less berating and shaming, and more "Okay, hey. That's a mistake. How can I help you fix it?" Then we can help them acknowledge what happened, make amends if necessary, and take steps or talk through what happened so they can make a better choice next time.

This post has been brought to you by a character-strengthening day. Have you had the chance to strengthen your character lately? :o)

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