I’m guilty of it. In fact, it happened just the other day. My children were giddy and high on sugar from Valentine’s festivities, giggling and tussling with each other when I lost it. The giant, toddler-sized teddy bear balloon that my husband had just purchased for my daughter was suddenly popped… RIP giant teddy. Before I could think, in a moment of frustration (frustration over what… I’m not really sure…perhaps the few dollars I lost), I snapped, reprimanding my oldest son for ruining his sister’s balloon. Mind you, she was blissfully oblivious to the situation. Instantly, I saw the sadness and guilt flood his face. He had not purposely ruined the balloon. He wasn’t even doing anything wrong, yet I was clearly upset with him. Before I could correct myself, the tears began forming. He hurriedly attempted to find a way to fix the bear and when no solution seemed to appear, he begged for us to buy her a new one. At this point, I was back-peddling, attempting to explain to him that the bear was not that important and I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. A small, meaningless accident had escalated in a hurry.
This got me thinking… how many times have I shamed my children for making harmless mistakes? My son had not been disobedient or unkind. He accidentally popped a balloon, for goodness sake. Was it inconvenient? Yes. Did a few dollars go to waste? Maybe. But did this mistake warrant a shame fest? Absolutely not! The kid shaming didn’t do anybody any good. And it never does. What are we trying to teach our children here… that things are more important than obedience, kindness, and love? I cringe just thinking about what I’ve possibly been subconsciously teaching my children.
What if instead of shaming them, I simply allowed the consequences to speak for themselves? So maybe my child bumped into the dresser, sending his box of Legos to the floor just after I tidied up. The simple consequence of cleaning up the mess should suffice without the guilt trip! It was just an accident, after all.
What if instead of shaming them, I taught them about grace. Even spilled cereal and milk can be a lesson of God’s grace. A hug and a gentle, “It’s ok… mama will help you clean it up,” could be a demonstration of how even when we mess up, God is quick to forgive and administer grace.
What if instead of shaming them, I show them the beauty of imperfection. We are all imperfect and consequently will make mistakes along the way. But these mistakes are what we learn from and grow through, shaping us into the Rockstar people God intended us to be! Imperfection can become strength.
What if instead of shaming them, I hugged them. Yes, really. Hug them. My kids are smarter than I give them credit for. They are keenly aware of their mistakes and usually already feel bad when accidents happen. What they really need is to be loved on and given big ole bear hugs! And how could I stay impatient or frustrated myself when I’m holding my babies close? It’s a win-win situation!
I do not want to be the impatient, grumpy mom who cares more about her stuff than her precious children. I’d rather have a messy house that’s run by tiny versions of me and my husband with chipped furniture and home décor that is barely held together by glops of super glue than to live in a quiet, somber home with ornate light fixtures and unstained, plush comforters and couches. Give me all the chaos and popped balloons because I won’t complain. Enough with the kid shaming. It’s not allowed in this house anymore!