There’s only one thing parents need to teach kids when it comes to being a good friend, and this is it: Forgiveness.
As parents, we must teach our children the realities of life. Life hurts us, people hurt us, we hurt other people and we hurt ourselves. That is what relationships and life are about. The sooner we let our children in on this secret, the healthier their life-approach will be.
We must teach that life is not built to be fair. The relationships our children have will, for certain, be their greatest teachers of love and pain. They will never need to use forgiveness more than in their relationships.
Forgiveness is many things – but we also must teach that forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation. It is not about condoning harms which have been done. Forgiveness is about taking power back.
5 Ways To Empower Our Children:
1. Let go of the need for closure.
When we have been hurt, we want people to be sorry for what they did. We get so hooked into this that we put our happiness on hold until we get this “apology.” Our children need to understand these apologies rarely come, and each day they are waiting to feel good until they get the apology they believe they need is another day wasted on a person who doesn’t deserve their head space. Closure comes from within and in their ability to let go and move on.
2. Accept what has been done.
What is done is done. They have already been hurt; the attack has happened, and no amount of their anger or sadness can or will change that. We have to teach them that when they can accept there is no way to reverse the damage, they can move on and not give any more time to something they cannot change. This liberates and brings the power to determine their own worth back to them.
3. Grateful thinking.
It is important to teach the "sliver lining" theory to our children. There is positive thinking and negative thinking; each can be an extreme path to take after we have been hurt. There is something disingenuous about a strictly positive thinker, because life is hard and to be positive all the time is not realistic -- and to be consumed in negative thought is simply a lack of effort. Grateful thinking is that middle ground where we teach our children to accept life on life's terms and to find the good in the painful and in the wonderful.