I have realized as a parent there are at lease two responses we can have when our children hurt themselves.

First, we can yell at and berate them for not listening to us and thereby injuring themselves. Because we know that if they had just listened to us then they would not have hurt themselves. If they would realize that we are actually looking out for their good  they would see that we only want the best for them.

A second response is to pick them up and cuddle them until they stop crying. It doesn’t matter they didn’t listen, because what does matter is they are hurt.

I’m not necessarily arguing for one response over the other, but I am arguing for a loving attitude versus one that belittles the child making them feel worthless. It is very easy for us as parents to think we are parenting constructively, but in reality parent deconstructively and in a hurtful way.

Our kids need to know that it is safe in our arms. It is safe for them to be hurt in our arms. It is safe for them to run to us when they are hurt. I often wonder what message I am sending to my children. Am I letting them know it is ok to get hurt, even if they do what I have warned them not to do? Or do I communicate, they are stupid for getting hurt?

There is a time and a place to remind our children that if that had not done what we warned against they would not be hurt. But it needs to be done in a loving, caring sort of way. Not a ‘well if you had listened this never would have happened kind of way’. That may be true, but does it help the learning experience in the moment? Probably not.

I am trying to ask myself with each response to my kids, am I loving on them or making them feel little? I don’t always measure up. But I want them to know I love them, even when they don’t listen. Especially, when they don’t listen and get hurt.

Skinned knees are a time to love and heal not belittle and put down.

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