Do you remember those times when someone did or said something and you were hurt? This happens all of the time, maybe even daily. It’s not always severe enough to have it affect your day, but that’s because you’ve learned forgiveness. There’s also an element of being aware and not letting other’s determine your feelings. Do you ever think about this? I do all the time.
I can remember there was a girl I grew up with who was in my same circle of friends. She constantly left me out and made sure I knew it. It was hard, and don’t get me wrong I was upset…A Lot. Often times crying because no matter what I did, it just wasn’t enough to be friends. But, what I learned was those feelings I had were just that, my feelings. I let her dictate how I felt. It wasn’t until years later, long after we lost touch that I forgave her.
Giving forgiveness is both difficult and beautiful. Once we offer that forgiveness we can start healing. If we don’t, then the wound deepens, causing disconnection, even depression. Learning the skill of forgiveness early is extremely important. So start with yourself, then instill in your children the ability to forgive and let go. This will bring peace in their lives and relationships. Here are a few ways to teach your child how to forgive.
How To Teach Kids Forgiveness
Start with siblings. Siblings are constantly taking each other’s toys, pulling hair and bickering. This is the basics of learning to forgive, move on and continue to play. I typically try and let the girls work it through these things, but will step in if it goes on too long or too far. The girls are required to not only say sorry, but what they are sorry for and why. This helps them acknowledge what they did and how it can hurt someone.
State feelings before offering forgiveness. When I step in I always ask the child who got hurt to state their feelings. I want them to know and understand what they are and why they felt that way. Now, Amelia is still little so I help her with the words so she can start to understand these things. But this is so important because before you forgive you have to be able to acknowledge why you’re hurt.
Seeing All Sides. This is a little harder right now because my girls are 2 and 4, but I have started helping them see from another prospective. Before my girls get out of time out, we have to “Talk About It”. This is where I get them to understand what their actions cause. On the other side, I ask my girls about what was leading up to the argument, toy steeling, etc..This way they can start seeing things from another prospective.
Letting Go. Letting go is the hardest part of forgiveness. This is tricky because as people we are naturally built to hold on to our negative thoughts. However, I often find myself having my girls sit until they are ready to let go, play once again and have fun.
Write It Down. Writing is more of an activity for older kids, but have them write feelings down. I use to do this. This is a way to teach them to journal their thoughts and feeling. Sometimes just writing all of your feeling down is just want you need to release what you’re feeling. No more thinking about what you would say, or should’ve said because you got it all out on paper.
Forgiveness is not easy. It’s a skill we all struggle with, even as we get older. But teaching kids early allows them time to learn, process and practice the act of forgiveness. If nothing else, go with the basics of the Golden Rule, “Treat others how you want to be treated.”
How are you teaching and talking to your kids about forgiveness? I’d love it if you share below some of your tips tricks and ideas as we can all learn from each other.
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