Calling all parents!
How many times have you heard you were young child blame you or someone else for their oversights, failures, mistakes? In my world with my one, now eight-year-old child, it was a recurring theme.
It's normal, right? They're young. They're learning.
With my child, it was exhausting at times. I realized it was exhausting because I made it so. I questioned why she felt the need to deflect responsibility. And if it was normal behavior for her age, I questioned when she was going to outgrow it. I kept asking myself how I could help her start to own responsibility for her actions/thoughts.
Typically when I try to give my daughter feedback she immediately looks to blame someone else or make an excuse. If I ask her to pack something before leaving the house, and she forgets, it was because I distracted her. If she turns to me for guidance regarding a squabble with a friend, she typically places full blame on the friend.
Imagine my surprise recently when she changed her tune. It happened not just once, but twice!
Over the summer, we frequented local pools. After leaving the house one day, I realized that my daughter forgot to pack a change of clothes. When I brought up the fact that we didn't have a change of clothes, she paused a bit, clearly thinking about her response. She finally said she just forgot and apologized. I told her that it happens to everybody.
While her accepting responsibility and simply apologizing for the oversight was like a breath of fresh air, that wasn't the most interesting part. The most interesting part came after the apology. She said, "I was going to say that you forgot, but then I realized that you don't normally do it. It is me who normally does it. So I didn't want to blame you or make an excuse."
My daughter articulated that she was conscious during that conversation. She thought through her words before she said them and realized the thoughts were flawed.
My heart melted.
And recently, my daughter got into an argument with her cousin. While discussing it with me, in mid-sentence, she realized that she was to blame for similar transgressions. In that moment, her heart opened to how her cousin was feeling. I could SEE it. That moment was transformative. It changed her feelings toward her cousin and how she approached resolution.
It's completely understandable to not want to accept responsibility at times. NO ONE wants to make mistakes. Mistakes can be embarrassing, and sometimes cause quite a mess for others.
My kid being aware and deciding to take responsibility for her mistake was huge. I am thrilled. If she can continue to take ownership of her thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout her life, I will be one happy momma...and I believe it'll contribute to her being one happy human.
Choosing to sit with the joy for a while. :)
Be open to what comes.