Understandable vs. ExcusableSep 13, 2023
Does your kid ever break the rules, but you let it slide because you totally sympathize with why they did it?
⭐Maybe it’s a new big sib tantrumming over screen time, but you know they’re overwhelmed with the new baby.
⭐ Or how about tolerating your toddler hitting you, but you know they’re tired and hungry?
⭐ What about a kid spreading rumors about a classmate, but it’s because they’re being bullied?
⭐ Or a teen who starts WWIII over having to do their own laundry because it’s a big change from how their parents always used to do it before.
It’s easy to say, “Yes, their behavior is crappy, but it’s not their fault.”
Sometimes we even say, “It’s really MY fault. I should have…” What? Only had one kid? Force-fed them lunch? Sent them to a bully-free school? Not done their laundry when they were young? Come on!
We think discipline is about fault because we believe it’s for when kids are ‘bad’ or doing ‘wrong.’ Release the idea of fault or wrongness! In fact, let go of being punitive at all. Now discipline is about lovingly teaching and helping kids grow, not about blame, being bad, or doing wrong. The truth is that kids are not bad or wrong, and their misbehavior always comes from an understandable place.
And just because a behavior is understandable doesn’t mean it’s excusable.
It’s awesome that you have empathy for your child’s mistakes! But twisting that empathy into an excuse for their behavior only hurts kids in the end because it results in inconsistency, confusing messages, and unhealthy lessons around poor choices. Instead, let your empathy help you stay connected and compassionate while you discipline your child for their understandable misbehavior.
Shifting from fault, wrongness, and punitive discipline takes practice, and it's a heck of a lot easier with support.
If you'd like to learn how to balance understanding where your kid is coming from while also holding them accountable, I can help. Set up a free Discovery Call so I can understand your specific circumstances, give you a roadmap to the parent you want to show up as, and we can see if we are a fit for each other going forward. I can’t wait to meet you!
Find me on social media:
Listen to my podcast: (or wherever you choose to listen!)