It can be so easy to fall into the trap of correcting our kids’ outward signs of disobedience while ignoring attitude. We often focus on their actions without paying attention to what’s going on in their little hearts. I think attitude is just as important as actions, if not more so. By the same token, we may correct our kids for the words they speak but not correct facial expressions. Attitude is attitude. Whichever way our kids reveal their attitudes to us, our job as parents is to get to their little hearts and make sure they’re in the right place.
Here’s a tip on figuring out whether to correct for attitude, especially those little facial expressions that often go by unnoticed. The next time you see your child with a not-so-happy expression on her face, picture a little comic strip thought bubble over her head and fill in the words. Imagine what she would be saying if she were talking. And if she were saying those words, would you correct her?
Here are a couple examples:
- Expression: Eye roll
- Thought bubble: That’s so stupid.
- Expression: Furrowed brow and tight lips
- Thought bubble: I’m so angry I could hurt someone.
- Expression: Lifted chin while looking away
- Thought bubble: I’m better than you.
You would certainly correct if your child spoke these words, right? And aren’t these words an accurate expression of the attitude you see on her face? Again, attitude is attitude. Correct if it needs correction.
Now, perhaps assigning words to her expressions isn’t entirely fair. So you might not correct as harshly as you might if she actually spoke them. Nonetheless, the point is understanding what’s going on in her heart. If this little exercise helps you get a better feel for her attitude, give it a try. Keep in mind that we cannot forget attitude when correcting our kids. Correct for actions, speech, facial expressions, and any other expression of attitude, always making sure the child’s heart is in the right place.