Jan 31, 2012

Yes I Use Guilt as a Parenting Tool

I know that perfect parents don't use guilt on their kids. Thankfully, I have never cared about being perfect in my parenting or any other aspect of my life. So I am not even a little ashamed to admit that I use a touch of guilt in my parenting.

When one of my kids hits, punches, kicks, pulls hair, takes a toy, etc. one of their siblings I talk to them. I ask them to look at their brother/sister and see how they feel about getting kicked or hit. It normally goes something like this.

Me-Look at Molly's face. How do you think she is feeling?
Isabella-I think she's feeling sad.
Me-She is feeling sad because you kicked her. You hurt her and now she's crying. Doesn't it hurt you and make you sad if someone kicks you?
Isabella-Yes it makes my tummy hurt. (For some reason everything makes her tummy hurt)
Me-Do you have anything to say to her?

Now I make it an option for my kids to apologize to anyone. I think forcing kids to say that they are sorry only teaches that apologies make everything OK (it doesn't) and that you don't really have to be sorry in order to apologize. We ask for forgiveness not this I'm sorry, it's OK crap that I was raised with. You can agree to disagree with me on this. (Hi mom!)

So this works pretty well with my kids. Not that we don't deal with aggressive behavior, I do have 2 toddlers and a preschooler after all. So today my little discipline plan backfired on me a little. I put Isabella's Leapster on timeout since she wasn't listening to me. And this is what went down.

Isabella-Mommy do you see my face (she said through tears)
Me-Yes I do.
Isabella-How does it look Mommy? Does it look sad? My face is sad because you took my toy away. (Can you picture her sad little face with tears running down her cheeks?)
Me-It does look sad, maybe next time you'll make a better choice and listen to my directions.

So remember.....
Your kids may not listen, but they are watching and learning!


  1. Like! Yes, guilt is a wonderful parenting tool. Someone once said that if you feel guilt, it usually means you're doing something wrong.

  2. Isabella is one smart cookie! ;)

  3. Yep! They turn it around, becoming manipulative little monsters SO EARLY. It's a good thing they're cute. ;)

    1. Oh it's a really good thing that they're cute. I say that many times a day.

  4. Oh yeah. Been there. I think it's important for them to know how they made someone feel, but it does suck when it comes back to you!

    Visiting from the Whole Lotta Love linkup.

    1. It seems to me that my kids don't listen until they want to throw something in my face. I know it's not true but that's how it feels.


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