Her sister leaves her swimsuit in her beach bag a week after going to the beach only to find it wrinkled, moldy and smelly. So, I tell her that she needs to be aware of her belongings and to use this experience to help her avoid this from happening in the future.
Funny thing is, when I try to use their mistake as a moment for learning, they are defensive and argumentative and seem not to learn squat from their mistakes. You'd think that this would be the best time to learn a valuable life lesson, right?... No, it has taken me fifteen years to figure this out. Kids don't learn when they are distressed and frustrated.
Who in the world can think logically when they're ticked off? It's tough enough for adults, but for kids, it's nearly impossible.
So, I've known this for awhile, but the truth is I rarely implement this, because one, I'm afraid I'll forget to talk to my girls about this later when they can listen without emotion, and two, it feels like it won't be affective once the moment has gone.
Yet, I finally tried it this week. My oldest, Riley, sixteen years old, was freaking out yesterday morning. "I can't print the articles I need for my paper that's due today," she freaked at me. The website was down, she couldn't find them anywhere else, and we had no paper form the paper (had she found the articles). I tried to help for a couple of minutes, but I had to make breakfast for the family, get dressed, and get to work on time.
Naturally, I wanted to give her a little lesson on not waiting until the last moment, and to prepare herself ahead of time. But, I knew that would stress her out more. She didn't need that. Therefore, I waited and let her figure it out and we talked later that night at home once the intensity of the moment was behind her.
As expected, she was a lot more receptive to my advice once the moment was behind her. I have to remember this technique. Although my heart and gut tell me to teach the lesson at the moment, my mind must win out and remind me to wait until the dust settles so that the lesson has meaning and she can see the big picture.
image courtesy of ©MorgueFile.com/giulian