A mom warned her two-year-old son, Sam, repeatedly not to stand on the chairs. However, he decided to it anyway. This time the chair tipped, Sam fell off and broke into tears. His mom scolded him saying “How many times have I told you not to stand on that chair? This is why you need to listen to me!” Sam cried a little harder feeling even worse.
It’s hard not to say a version of “I told you so!” in situations like this. How would Sam feel if instead his mom gave him a hug and said “How sad you fell off the chair”? When we express empathy instead of anger, we build loving relationships with our children while letting them learn from the consequences.
Todders who don't listen
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I have remembered this from your class, and I'll tell you - it's such a good feeling showing empathy to my child! She knows she fell off the chair, and it hurts - that's the consequence, not mommy being mad. This technique has been really wonderful for us - hope others give it a try!
It's great to hear from you Liz! I'm glad empathy is working well for you ... it certainly took me plenty of practice to make it part of my initial response.
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