It is so important for parents to help children understand and practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is a continued process of acknowledging we have control of only our own thoughts and actions, and not everyone will live according to our ideas of fairness. And in the event that someone’s choices hurts us, we don’t have to become a victim, but instead, forgive and set ourselves free from the pain. Forgiving is a CHOICE to take back power of one’s response.
Forgiveness is the ultimate act of love, kindness, and compassion. When you’re negatively affected by someone’s choices, it can be difficult to hold them in a friendly place in your heart. However, if they acknowledge their mistakes and are truly sorry for their actions, it’s important to forgive. We all make mistakes and anyone who is truly sorry deserves an opportunity to make things right… including ourselves.
Many are hesitant to forgive because they believe it means they’re agreeing with the hurtful actions or have conceded to them. The truth is, when you forgive, you not only demonstrate compassion to the offender, but also to YOURSELF! You’re saying, “I don’t appreciate your actions, so I am proactively choosing my right to happiness and peace.” Forgiving someone shows one’s strength of character.
Preparing To Forgive:
Identifying what your child is feeling from the experience is important. Are they feeling betrayed, angry, or disappointed? Next, help your child determine what actions were hurtful. By being clear on exactly WHAT they’re feeling and the CAUSE, they’ll be able to deal with the situation more effectively.
Let your kids know that it’s normal if their hurt doesn’t immediately go away after they’ve forgiven. Some question their decision to forgive when they don’t feel immediate comfort. Rest assured, you’re doing fine. You’ve released yourself from the negativity and simply need to give healing some time to work its magic.
Identifying The Benefits:
By helping our kids understand that sometimes things turn out differently than how we think they should, we allow them to develop a more realistic view of people and life in general. They’ll realize they have the power to turn the bumps and bruises into opportunities to learn, grow, and become stronger!
It’s time to take action! Have your child state their feelings before their forgiveness. Example, “Sarah, I felt betrayed when you insulted me in front of our friends. Please don’t disrespect me like that. I forgive you.” This clear and specific communication EMPOWERS your child instead of leaving him/her feeling victimized. This is how I feel. These are my boundaries. I will give you another chance instead of dwelling in damaging feelings.
Letting Go And Moving On:
Show your child that no amount of anger will change what has already happened, but it takes a Powerful and Courageous person to choose their response to anything that happens! Celebrate their decision to exercise their right to happiness.
Important: Help your child understand that it’s NEVER acceptable for someone to continue being hurtful to them. If problems continue, they need to know it’s safe to speak to their parents, caregivers, and teachers about it.