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Give Children the Opportunity to Explain their Actions

Give Children the Opportunity to Explain their Actions December 12, 2018359 Comments

A 4 year old boy went to his  dad on a Saturday morning,  crying.  This was their conversation :

Dad: Why are you crying? 

Son: Mommy  hit me

Dad: What did you do? 

Son: Nothing 

Dad: How do you mean nothing? 

Son: I did nothing wrong, daddy.

Surprised,  the man called his wife and said,  “Daniel has been crying, he said you hit him.  I know he must have done something stupid.”   ” Of course, ”  said the wife.  “can you imagine? he was playing with the electric kettle.”  Then the conversation  between father and son continued:

Dad: Daniel, you said you did nothing wrong but your mom said you were playing with the electric kettle. 

Son: Yes,  dad,  I did nothing wrong.  I wasn’t playing with the electric kettle. I wanted to boil water so I could make you a surprise  cup of tea because today is your birthday  and I know you  like your tea very hot.  

It is true that children could be mischievous but  sometimes,  they do have good motives for their  actions even thought they  may get things  upside down  while trying to do the right thing. 

Children think.   They most times have clearly set objectives for their actions, though they often  mess things up  due to lack of experience. However,  we may never discover these motives  or the intelligence behind their actions unless we give them the opportunity to explain their actions. 

Punishing children without asking them questions  or telling them their offences may leave them confused.  In the case of the boy in our case study,   we know that his mom was  concerned about his safety but as far as the little boy was concerned,  he just got punished for taking the initiative to make  daddy a surprise cup of tea on his birthday.   This is enough to inhibit the discretion and creativity  of any child.  The punishment was not necessary in the first place.  All that the mother  needed to have done after preventing the little boy from  using the  electric kettle himself,  was to find out exactly  what the young man  was up-to.  Perhaps  he would have shared his idea with  mommy,  and  she would have  assisted him in making his dream  of a surprise birthday tea for his daddy come true.  After then,  she could  explain to him that it is dangerous for him to use the electric kettle by himself.  Children are smarter than adults realise, though we often mistake their  lack of experience  for foolishness. 

When next your child does  anything wrong, don’t  just go ahead to punish.  Ask questions.  The questions to ask  children include: 

-how did this happen? 

-what were you trying to achieve? 

-what were your thoughts? 

-Do you think there is a better way you could have gone about this?  

-if you  were to do this  again,  what would you do differently?  

Rosemary Oshiomah Ogedengbe

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