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October 29, 2015

TBT: Convincing, or Convicting?

shutterstock_235497817“If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.”

(Henry David Thoreau)

Is it true that we should teach our children right from wrong? No question about it—yes. I just think that we should do it with far fewer words than we normally use.

When a toddler throws his toy at you out of anger, a simple no, and removal of the toy, should do the trick. Will she protest? Sure. Do you work hard to convince her that throwing at people is wrong? No. It just is.

It gets a little more complicated as these kids of ours start to develop linguistic and reasoning skills, but the general principle holds true. When our tweens and teens cross the line with certain behaviors, we feel the need to convince them that what they’ve done is wrong. Except they don’t need to be convinced. They need to be convicted and accountable to consequences with little to no fanfare.

Don’t get mad, just get matter-of-fact. Don’t try to convince, just act with your conviction that you will let the consequences do the screaming.

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