We’ve all been on the receiving end of a guilt trip – from parents, other family members, teachers, you name it. But even if the emotion does lead to changed behavior, that doesn’t mean it’s always a good thing, especially for kids.
“Guilt may work in the moment to stop a behavior, but the long-term effects on a child’s emotions is not helpful or healthy,” says parenting educator Laura Linn Knight. “Parents can use their own experience of how guilt and shame have had a negative impact in their life as a reminder to leave guilt out of their conversations with their children.”
But that doesn’t mean it’s an entirely bad thing either. As kids develop empathy and compassion, they also start to experience feelings of guilt when their actions have a negative impact on others or otherwise violate their values.
“Guilt is not always bad – especially if it comes from inside, not from outside based on something a parent said,” says Keneisha Sinclair-McBride, a clinical psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts. “Kids are building their internal guiding principles in real time – it’s important to not lose sight of that.”
Parents should be mindful of their role in this. Even if you’re not seeking to guilt-trip your children, there are other common behaviours and comments that make kids feel guilty. Speaking to HuffPost, experts broke down some parenting approaches that instil guilt and should be avoided.
Piling on when they make mistakes
“It’s important to separate the kid from the action,” Sinclair-McBride says. “Your kid, whom you love, did something that frustrates you. That’s all. When you put the kid and the action together, this can cause guilt.”
She advised against saying things like “You’re so careless!” when your kid forgets to turn in their homework or “You’re so sloppy!” when they make a mess.
“Parents often do this without realising it in the heat of the moment because they are tired and frustrated,” Sinclair-McBride says. “Better to take a deep breath and just describe the action and any potential consequences: ‘You forgot to turn in your homework. You worked hard on that. What happened?’ Or ‘I asked you to clean up your art supplies, and they are all over the floor still. Now we need …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec