Growing Up Kind

by Jasmine Carlson on March 9, 2011

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Recently I have run in to several circumstances where my son caught the brunt of another child’s anger. He was hit and he was scratched and yet when my son hit this child later he received discipline. Why? Why would I discipline my child when seemingly the other child “deserved” retribution and somewhere in there I wanted my son to “defend” himself.

It was as I was discussing this sticky parenting situation with my husband that I remembered that I was not raising the other child. The other child was not my responsibility. What is my responsibility is my child. I want my child to be kind. No matter what. I want my child to treat other people kindly even though other people may not be kind to him. The fact is that people are not going to be kind to him all of his life, but I don’t want him to be the person who lashes back in anger. I want him to be compassionate and I want him to think about his response.

So we talk. I am so glad that he is old enough now that we can discuss some things. We talk about being nice, about being kind, about not wanting to hurt other people and why. And then, as patiently as possible, I discipline my son every time he lashes out at a child because I want him to be kind.

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Jasmine Carlson (49 Posts)

Jasmine is a community living mama with a passion for fierce writing and fitness. She her way on Team USA by fitness coaching. Shaping Her. (www.shapingher.com) Join the conversation at (www.facebook.com/ShapingHer)


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama March 9, 2011 at 7:10 am

Marshall Rosenberg has some good examples of handling anger (“righteous” or otherwise) in his NVC books (I’m thinking particularly of Nonviolent Communication). He really focuses on listening for the need/feeling and understanding – connection over correction. I would really recommend it to parents who are focusing on raising kind kids :)

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Debbie March 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm

This concerns me a bit as there is a difference between teaching to be kind and what you are doing, which is taking away your child’s right to all his emotions like anger. Anger is a healthy response to protect ourselves. Safe anger is important for mental health. Do not punish your child for have defensive anger, just show him a better way to use it rather than violence. Not enabling a child to have all their feelings is negect too you know.

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Kate March 10, 2011 at 8:07 am

At a grocery store the other day we had gotten through the store with my daughter pushing her tiny cart and at the end another kiddo came up to her, pushed her, shook her until she let go, and then took the cart and started playing with it. I watched for a minute to see what my E. would do. Then after sharing a look of consternation with each other I said, “Well, that was odd, wasn’t it?” E. said, “Yes, it was.” at which point the girl’s mom (who was sitting at a table right next to us the whole time) shot me an surprised look. Later in the car we talked about it and she said she wished she’d told the other girl not to take her cart. I said it wasn’t really the cart that was a big deal, since she was almost done with it anyway. But maybe it’s helpful to find a gracious way to tell other people not to be mean to you, even if they don’t get it. She’s 2 1/2. It’s hard to watch my kid get smooshed sometimes, but I’m so proud of her each time she makes a choice to be kind.

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Jasmine Carlson March 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I think it is perfectly appropriate for my child to express his anger and frustration BUT I do not think it is OK for him to take it out on anyone else. There is a time and a place for all of us to “blow off steam” I don’t think that holding it in is a good thing for a person and we all feel anger or frustration sometimes but taking it out on someone else is not OK. I never punish my child for his anger.

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Debbie March 21, 2011 at 2:56 am

I think it is good how you don’t punish your child for anger. May I ask how they they tell the difference between punishing for anger and punishing for violence. It would be difficult for a child to conceptualise this. Do you let your child know it is ok they feel angry but not to hit? I would find it difficult if I was a child to understand this concept. I am looking forward to learning your answer.

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Debbie March 21, 2011 at 3:03 am

lol In fact I was placed in this exact same situation as a person above with the tiny cart this week. A 3 year old kept grabbing things out of my 1 1/2 year olds hands, not just grabbing- he made him almost fall because he grabbed it so fast. And it was everything my son picked up, it wasnt’ that he wanted it, just that he had to have everything my son did. I ended up grabbing it out of this boys hands and was extremely angry but didn’t yell and or anything said no- it’s good to share. Then later I got Alex to give something back to him, he shared after that and I played with him and Alex playing with the baby stove. When his mum got him later he hit her and yelled at her. Mmmm it’s difficult sometimes to chose what to do on the spur of the moment.

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