Teaching children to ask for forgiveness can take a much longer time, then teaching them to forgive. No one likes to admit they are wrong, so apologizing can be a hard a thing, regardless of the age. It is especially true if asking for forgiveness hasn't been something that you have grown up doing.
Teaching Children to Ask for Forgiveness
If you listen to people who aren't comfortable about admitting their wrong, whether it was intentional or by accident, they will tell you ‘I'm not good at apologizing'.
This response is one that I have heard time and time again. My own husband has said it to me many times when we were first married. The good thing about it is the more a person does it, the easier it becomes.
All this proves to me that ‘asking for forgiveness' is something that must be taught to be part of a person character. The longer a person ages without this ability, the more they struggle with the simple acknowledgment of being wrong, regardless of the motive or lack of one.
Teaching children to forgive is the best time to start, and is easier than you can imagine!
- Identify what they have done wrong. Many times children are not aware of what they have done wrong, until they have learned what is offensive to others. Each of us are created with selfish inclinations and it is only through focused learning that these traits can be identified. I would say something like, “Taking that toy away from your friend is being selfish. When you are selfish, you are not a good friend, because that has hurt their feelings.” This empowered my children to understand why not sharing could hurt their friend.
- Ask them how it would feel if it was done to them. Young children live with their whole hearts involved in all they do. Being aware of this, I have used this in asking my children what they would feel like if the same action was done to them. They are often quick to seeing why it hurt the other one and are more likely to work on being more kind because they have been able to associate with the feelings.
- Start with God's forgiveness. My children have learned at an early age that God's forgiveness is so important to making our actions better. When my children have hurt another, we have them ask God to forgive and help them to do better next time. When they have prayed and are forgiven they feel so much better.
- Require a genuine apology. Once they have prayed for forgiveness, an apology is so easy for them to ‘ask for forgiveness'. Our children have grown using, “Will you forgive me for __________?” verses the normal “I'm sorry” that is part of our culture. I may be silly in doing this with them, but in my experience a call for forgiveness is so much easier to walk through than a generic ‘I'm sorry'. The harmony it brings between them proves it to me.
- Examine Their Own Actions. As parents, we are quick to tell our children what they have done wrong. As my children grow past the formative years, I start letting them stretch their wings by having them identify what actions need to be apologized for and with whom they need to seek it. We call this ‘confessing your sins'. It is always easier when someone points out to you where they offended you, but it is very important for people to learn to discern their relationships and how they interact with each other.
The best way to teach children to ask for forgiveness is to be an example. I can't tell you how often I have had to apologize to my children for my lack of self-control when raising my voice, or not giving them my full attention. When they see me apologizing, it makes it clear in their mind what it looks like, and how it makes the other feel for being cared for in this way.
I have even had my children overhear me apologizing to friends for my short comings, so they can see how it is done with people outside of our own house.
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Teaching children to forgive may not be something that you would think about when it comes to parenting. It may be just part of your day, or not anything you really spent time thinking about as a parent. Don't overlook the importance of teaching your children the purpose and meaning of forgiveness, and how it can be one of the best things they can do for their own happiness.
Teaching Children to Forgive:
The younger you start teaching your children the better. The formative years (birth to five years) are the best time to introduce things that will make up their character.
With a few things in place, forgiveness will be something that becomes second nature for your children.
- Use the vocabulary – The term ‘forgive' is a strong word, far different than the substitue ‘it is okay', which is used when an offender apologizes to the offended. Teach your child at a young age to say ‘You are forgiven' because this goes straight to the heart and softens the offended.
- Embrace each other – In our family, we hug each other when forgiveness is being given, as an act that goes further than words. When you teach children to forgive, they normally desire to embrace the other naturally, so encourage this precious act to further aid in the process.
- Reinforce the Forgiveness – In a life of a child 5 year old and younger, the offenses usually comes from acts of unkindness, not sharing or in many cases, accidents. Some children have a hard time ‘forgetting' that they forgave the other person. This is okay, as we know the heart takes time to heal when it is offended. To teach children to forgive, we also need to help them walk through the lasting affects that may still linger if their hearts are still hurting. Reinforce this forgiveness by talking about the good things the offender has done for the hurt child and walk through the healing with them.
The more a child has the opportunity to use “I forgive you” in their own experiences, the likelihood of them walking through life without bitterness and hard feelings. Holding on to grudges and past hurts have been proven to more harmful to that person in the long run.
Your children's future will be happier from adding this one phrase to their own vocabulary, knowing how to do it on their own and making it a habit for life.
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Evaluating reading comprehension is a very important aspect of a child's education, and one thing that Charlotte Mason recommends. However, only doing it once a year, at the end of the year can allow for gaps to be happening without your knowledge. Doing regular evaluations, as soon as your child can read well, will help you understand exactly where your child's comprehension is throughout the entire year, allowing you to navigate the year for their benefits based on their weaknesses.
Evaluating Reading Comprehension
When my oldest children were in early elementary, I would regularly evaluate their reading comprehension. At first, we would do a 3 minutes test consisting of 10 questions with a ‘yes' or ‘no' answer, every Friday. I found that this helped them to understand that we read to retain information, and not just read.
They would read the story and attempt to answer as many of the 10 questions as they could correctly within the 3 minutes allowed. At first, this was very difficult for them, however with practice they improved greatly.
As they drastically improved on these weekly test, with consistent 100% grades, I would move them to the next level of test. Still 3 minutes, but the stories grew in difficulty due to the size in text and vocabulary.
I liked that I could test all of my children in the same 3 minutes, but on different test for their own levels of reading comprehension.
Each test for the Books A – E have a wide range of grade comprehension based on the number of correct answers the child gave. The scores have the grade first, followed by the number of month for each grade. So a score of 4.6 would mean the child comprehension level was a fourth grade, six month. A score of 10.3 would mean tenth grade, third month.
The first test results for the year would determine where I would place the next several test. If my child scored a 4.6 on their first test of the year, I would give the following test where that would be the middle target for 1/2 of the questions being correct. When the child started to improve on their test, I would increase the grade target by a few months at a time.
After I had them take 10 test, I would take an average of all their scores and that was their reading comprehension score for that part of the year.
This method has worked amazing for all of my kids thus far, and will be what I do for my last child, as well.
These are the books that I have used, and highly recommend to be used in homeschool or at home, for any child.
Lying starts young. As hurtful as it is to see your precious child being dishonest, every child does it. What is really important for parents is to learn how to accept it as a part of growing up, while teaching them the dangers of lying and guiding them to always speak the truth.
Gently Leading Your Child Away From Lying
I will never forget the first time my oldest started lying. She was just four years old, and the reason she lied made no sense because it wasn't important either way. However, in her mind, she thought it was important to be dishonest to me.
It was very unsettling to see that without hesitation she looked me straight in the face and lied to me about something so trivial.
It made me wonder if I was just unaware of other times that she lied to me and I just wasn't paying close enough attention to her, giving her the courage to make it a habit. Sadly, lying was something that we had to work through for several years and it was always when she felt that she was going to be in trouble for her choices.
As our second child started this human reaction to undesired consequences, it became apparent that we needed to do something different on how we dealt with lying and the effects of them.
Those changes were just what was needed to make a lasting effect (and I will share them in a minute) but sadly, the lack of attention when our third child came along found that lies were left unchecked, and habits were growing deeply.
Once I realized that he was in fact lying (he was a master of it early, and I'm so hurt that I didn't see it sooner) about little things without any body language or hesitation, I knew that we had some work a head of us.
I sat down and had a heart to heart talk with him, shared scriptures from the Bible on the consequences of lying and how they can effect those that you are dishonest with on a continual basis.
It didn't take long for him to acknowledge that he lied everyday, about all kinds of things for no reason at all but to lie. It was only then that he accepted the damage that he has done to the trust that is so important. With that he acknowledged that it was his responsibility to rebuild the trust but not without the love and care of his parents who held him accountability for his choice to be truthful in all that he did or say.
It was during this same time that our fourth child was approaching his own trial of lying. We realized that the daily examples of lies from our third child had caused an example for him to feel it was acceptable for him to lie over the smallest things, as well.
As parents, it was time to roll up our sleeves and gently lead our children to truth.
How to Gently Lead Your Children Away from Lying
You can easily walk through the important aspects of ‘why truth is so important' and ‘why lying is so damaging' with the easy to remember VOWELS of Dealing With Lying.
A – Accept That Lying Is a Natural Reaction to Consequences
Every person has told a lie, even George Washington and Honest Abe. It is part of life, and it starts early for most people. There would be absolutely no reason for a person to lie if it weren't for the natural reaction to the concerns of the consequences of an action. The more times that a person is unchecked by another, the easier it is for that person to resort to lying to avoid the consequences they dread.
It is really a natural reaction and it is very important that children understand that it is part of a human life. It is right, but it is normal.
It doesn't make them a horrible, wicked person because they tried to avoid consequences. It just makes them human.
Sadly, adults do this every day in their dealings with other adults. It could be that our observant children have witness someone else getting out of consequences by lying or fear itself drove them to do it.
Either way, you need to be sure to not shame your child into feeling different than you when you were a child.
E – Explain How Sin Can Grow When Left Unchecked
Lying is a normal reaction to consequences but it is still sin. A child needs to understand how sin can grow into habits when consequences aren't put into place to help them overcome this natural tendency.
It is imperative that parents understand their own role in unchecked lies and how easily they can grow when we remain busy and distracted by our other responsibilities. It is our responsibility to be discerning of our children's behavior, and reactions to the behavior.
Help them to understand that together you will work to break the habit of lies, and work to keep truth in all that you both do.
Setting up consequences that the child understands will be the result if they choose to speak lies in the future. Always have them repeat what the consequences will be, and if necessary right them down as a reminder for both of you.
Depending on how much of a lying habit your child has, you may want to consider reminding them of the consequences for lying when asking them a question that you feel may result in them wanting to lie to get out of other consequences.
Be discerning when you are talking to your child about subjects of previous topics that he or she would lie about.
Always speak in a loving and trusting tone, where you child feels safe confiding in you of their wrong actions. The more you demonstrate your love to them the easier it will be for them to open up to you with truth regardless of the consequences.
I – Introduce Your Child to ‘Trust'
Children need to understand the power of trust and what it really means. They don't just need a definition of trust, but a demonstration of just how important it is in a relationship and when it is broken, how hard it is to put trust in another person.
The perfect way to show them this is having them stand in front of you with their back turn to you. Have them close their eyes and fall into your arms without them looking. Repeat this several times, always catching them. Point out how easier it is for them the more they do it.
Without them knowing, place pillows on the floor while they have their eyes closed and looking straight ahead (another parent may have to help do this part) and just like the other times have them fall back into your arms. This time, don't catch them.
Have them get back into position, and do it again. Only this time, keep the pillows there where they can see them, while ensuring that you will catch them and won't let them fall. Ask them how they feel inside.
Do this a few times until they are feeling more comfortable and trusting you again. Next, have them remove the pillows and get ready to do it again. Ask them how they feel now that the pillows aren't there.
Your child will have such a power demonstration of what it means to trust, and how it feels when trust is broken.
Take sometime to discuss how this is no different for those who are lied to again and again. It is just harder and harder to trust someone, when you broke the trust.
U – Understand That Lying Hurts the Liar
Once a child can completely understand how trust can be damaged or broken when a person is lied to, you need to turn the table to how it makes the person telling the lies, known as a liar, feel when his truthful words can't be trusted.
They need to understand how a habit of lying can change how others see you, and that hurts the liar more than anyone else.
It is harder for them to have friends for a long time, and even when they are telling the truth it is hard for others to really believe them because trust has been broken and not repaired quick enough.
A perfect illustration of this is the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
O – Observe the Feelings of Guilt and Shame Verses Responsibility and Ownership
It is really important that children are able to identify their feelings. When a child first starts tries out lying, they feel a sense of guilt and shame. The danger is if a parent is too busy or distracted to pick up on this uncomfortable reactions a child has when lying, they begin to ignore these feelings and perfect their skill of deceit and dishonesty.
As important as it is for children to learn how to identify their feelings, but they should also understand why these feelings are there in the first time. To do that, they should be encouraged to observe how feelings make them react. When a child is happy, they jump or smile. When they are sad, they cry or frown. When they are scared, they seek security and a sense of protection. When a child feels guilt or shame, they often seek alone time or change the subject.
If they understand why feelings make us do certain things, they will understand why lying isn't something that they should do and their conscience already knows that by their reactions.
Also have them observe how they feel and react when they demonstrate responsibility or ownership for things that they do right and wrong. There is a sense of relief when someone knows that they did something that they were hiding. It is truly the beginning of healing, and it comes in the form of just ‘feeling better' about the situation. They need to understand that taking responsibility and ownership over something is healthy and always the better thing to do.
Check out this for more parenting advice about dealing with lying.
When these steps, or VOWELS of Dealing with Lying, are worked through with children of all ages it is one of the most gentle ways to lead your child to truth, and leave the habit of lying behind them.
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Boys have imaginations that need to have the permission to be explored. With raising our three boys, I have found that there are things boys should do when they are young to help them with not only getting their imagination an outlet but build necessary skills that they they use into adulthood.
10 Things Boys Should Do When They Are Young
There is an obvious difference between a girl's imagination and that of a boy. The imagination of both work amazing together but when not influenced by each other, you can see stark differences in what they come up with on their own.
It is through this experience of raising my own boys that I want to be sure to open the doors for my youngest child's imagination to be allowed to blossom and grow without restrictions or invasions on my part. Please don't read that to mean that I'm discouraging parental guidelines or supervision, because that is the furthest from the truth.
Boys and nature go hand in hand. Most boys naturally are drawn to creepy creatures, and slimy snakes, but often times aren't given the opportunity to explore in nature to observe the way of nature and to build a relationship with the world around them.
It has been through nature that my boys have learn compassion and how to care for others. Each of them have a tender heart for animals, but this can also be portrayed in how they react to people.
Climb Trees and Structures
Boys needs to get their energy out, and face their fears, otherwise they will tend to be whiny and shy away from challenges. Our son would often get stuck in trees, and one of us would have to climb up to help him down. It was also during this time that he would whine over the smallest things.
We encouraged him to climb more trees, and face his fears that he can get down safely as well. To build his confidence, my husband attached a ladder to the tree to help him focus on getting to the top of the ladder. Once he accomplished this himself, he was also getting control of his emotions.
Build Legos and Other Building Toys
Boys will grow up to be men, and with that they need to have some building skills to save money around the house. The hours of building Legos and using K'Nex or Lincoln Logs to see how things go together will benefit them when they are doing things with their own hands as an adult.
Build Model Cars
Learning to read directions at an early age may not mean that they will read directions as an adult, but it will give them the skills necessary to see how parts form a whole. Model cars are the perfect tool to do this!
Having the accomplishment of putting together a model car, with tiny increments will build patience and perseverance in their character.
Build a Fort
All little boys know the joys of building forts with blankets, but to be given the permission to use a hammer and nails, with some scrap wood from their daddy's garage is a boost of self-confidence and taking a pride in their work like you won't imagine.
I have loved to see our sons being given that option to take some few pieces of woods and see what they can come up with. The smiles that come over their face, as they step back to look at what their hands and imagination was able to do is priceless.
Whittle and Carve
Boys love knives. Moms not so much.
I love to let my boys learn to whittle and carve early with soap, and then move on with sticks before getting into a carving project. The way that they learn responsibility when they are an owner of a pocket knife is one of the simplest ways to teach it.
Learn Weapon Safety
Once a boy becomes an owner of his first pocket knife, he naturally moves on to wanting more weapons. This is the perfect time to teach weapon safety and the value of a life. Once a pocket knife is given, we progress to a sling shot and bow and arrow, before working our way up to a BB gun and an air soft gun.
Our boys learned early that we do not kill an animal unless we plan on eating it. Knowing that they grew with a compassion for animals, this was an easy lesson to teach them.
Earn, Save and Spend Their Own Money
Teach a boy the value of a dollar, and the pride of earning money through hard work is a gift any parent can give to their sons (and daughters). The worst thing we could do for our children at any age is give them everything they wanted, especially if there was no work involved to receive it.
It is really a service to your sons to learn proper money management even at a young age of 4 or 5. I have some very sweet memories of our children spending their own money at yard sales and stores, and learning how to read prices to determine if it is a good deal.
All of my children, including my 6 year old, has demonstrated good money choices. I do have a son that loves to spend, but he also knows about keeping current on his bills and saving.
Take Something Apart and Put It Back Together
Two of my three sons have been born with the natural ability to take things apart and put them back together before they could talk.
These same boys are my right hands when my husband isn't available to put new furniture together, or fix something that isn't working. I love just giving them something and seeing what they will do with it. (My daughter is gifted with this skill as well, and better than her brothers)
Accept Failure as a Learning Experience
Failure is a teacher. It should be encouraged at a young age, instead of being viewed as a lack of ability.
It is only when a person, regardless of the age, learns to accept failure as a learning experience and a stepping stone to improvement that true growth can really happen.
Without this outlook, a boy could grow to be a man who doesn't know how to deal with anything but perfection, and pass this requirement to those around him. This can harm relationships in his own family.
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