Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Parent to Parent: Forgiveness
They are two simple words, but, for many of us, saying "I'm sorry" is hard to do. In tonight's Parent to Parent, Dr. Valerie shows us how to teach our kids to forgive and forget.
WSVN -- Like any other set of siblings, Alissa and Alexa Infante can be playing one minute, then arguing the next.
That's why the family believes in forgiving and forgetting.
Alissa Infante: "It means when you are sorry and you apologize. We try to be happy-go-lucky, both of us with them and with each other, not to keep that anger that, as adults, you tend to do that."
Roman Infante: "They'll forgive, they'll forget and two minutes later they're back to being normal."
While that may seem easy enough, Seven's Parenting Expert Dr. Valerie Goode says it can be a difficult lesson because forgiveness isn't based on feelings.
Instead parents, teach your child that although they may not feel like forgiving someone, it will free them inside and make them feel better.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "You may have to explain what's happening to them is they are continuing to beat themselves up, if they are holding onto the resentment of something you did."
Begin by teaching your child that everyone makes mistakes.
Explain to them that sometimes things happen that are just out of their control.
Then tell them it's OK to be upset, but show them they don't have to lose their cool.
The best way is leading by example.
For example, if your child breaks something...
Dr. Valerie: "You can tell your child, I am upset about it. You can discuss the fact that he broke the vase. You will discuss the fact that perhaps he was playing basketball in the middle of the living room, but you aren't going to overreact, and, ultimately, it is hopeful that you will forgive him for doing so. We all make mistakes."
But make sure your child takes responsibility for their actions.
Teach them to apologize to others and to themselves and really mean it.
To do that, have them share their feelings, work through the problem and correct their own mistakes.
Then, once your child does apologize, parents -- and this is important -- make sure you do not continue to remind them of what they did wrong, forgive and forget.
Dr. Valerie: "You let go of it, and you feel empowered as a parent. Your child feels empowered because they don't have to do it again and be continually reminded that they have a short fuse."
Both Alissa and Alexa are taking forgiveness to heart, thanks to mom and dad.
Ana Infante: "In the long run, they'll go back to what they were taught, and that's a matter of just reinforcing it over and over again."
Roman Infante: "If you don't learn to forgive, you're going to hold a grudge your whole life against something or somebody, and you can't live like that."
Lynn Martinez: "Parents, it's not too late if you're holding a grudge and want to get over it. Begin by asking yourself, 'What do I gain by being angry?' and 'How would I feel if I didn't hold this grudge?'
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALERIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
Dr. Valerie Goode:
7711 SW 62 Ave. Suite 203
Miami, FL 33143