It is easy for parents to ground their kid for whatever mistake they commit. The reason is to teach a lesson such as “All actions have an impact on the world or we are responsible for our action”. Kids do not learn these lessons by being punished but by supporting your children in making amends, you teach them long-lasting lessons.
1. Don’t be angry, be empathetic
Your child must feel like you are on his side so he can talk to you without expecting judgement or punishment. Give him some time to think and manage his anger while you manage yours.
2. Start the conversation
To avoid being lied to, start the conversation warmly. Once children feel a connection in conversation, they are more likely to be open for guidance. You need to talk to your kid to find out the reason behind their action.
3. See the situation from his point of view
This will help you understand what motivated your kid to do something wrong. It will let your kid work through their feeling and learn about better judgement. Let’s say your kid failed his test because instead of studying, he played basketball with his friends. You need to ask why he felt the need to play that game. Is he feeling peer pressure or anxious about being accepted by the gang? Then that is somewhere your focus should be.
4. Ask open-ended questions
Keep the conversation light and do not lecture your kid. Instead ask open-ended question and let your kid do the talking. Was it worth it? Would they do it again? What would make them choose differently now?
5. Help your kid plan things better
Rather than jumping straight for the punishment, help your kid in making better decisions. Once the initial guilt is gone, your kid will try making things better so you have to ask how it can be done. What is the plan to repair what has been broken?
6. What if he says no repair work is necessary?
If your kid is still on the defensive and saying that they do not care for what they have done, then give them some more time to think these things through. Set a clear expectation for them and also take part of the blame. Tell them that not addressing the problem won’t make it go away but they have to find a way to make things better.
7. Set limits as necessary.
Setting limits and family rules is important but if your kid is having problems adhering to the rules, ask them why, adjust the limits accordingly or support them through it. Your kid is mostly depending on your support.