Recently I was very saddened to watch as a mother made mean, ugly threatening faces to her young son, while sticking her finger in his face and scolding him. I felt so bad for the child as I looked on and saw this mom who was ranting and raving at him, while pointing her finger at him in an intimidating way.
Her expression and body language said:
1. I am to be feared.
2. I am very angry.
3. I don’t like you.
The little boy’s body language and expression showed hurt, and discouragement. (As if to say, I can’t make Mom happy) At the same time, it looked like he was used to this, and had learned to just shrug it off. It was as though her words and actions had no affect on him.
It made me wonder how often I have been guilty of “saying” the wrong thing to my kids with my facial expression, and body language! I think it’s okay and important for our kids to be able to “read” our expressions, and they should know when we are giving them “the look” that they better knock it off. They should also recognize the expression that shows we are disappointed in their wrong behavior, words, or attitude. However, our normal expression should be a happy one, rather than a scowl.
My hope is that when “reading” my expression, my kids will see love written there, pleasure in them, and kindness with gentle firmness. That’s not always easy! Obviously as moms, we are human, and aren’t going to be perfect at this. In fact, I KNOW for a fact that my expression isn’t always pleasant. In fact, sometimes without even being aware of it, I show the wrong expression, and my kids have asked “What’s THAT look for?” That gives me great motivation to be more aware of my facial expression!
Maybe you’re wondering about when our kids are showing wrong behavior. Even when showing wrong behavior, they should feel accepted and loved. As we have told our kids, we love YOU but we don’t like your behavior. We don’t have to make mean, ugly, or even threatening faces and hand motions to get the message across. Often, just the gentle look of disappointment does the job. Harshness may frighten them into “being sorry” or changing their behavior, but it doesn’t focus on the heart, or permanent change. Kindly talking to them about the behavior, and taking time to train will do far more than our mean, angry expressions ever will!
I hope and pray that my expressions and body language will show them love, even when I’m displeased with the behavior. I don’t want to be a SCOWLING MOTHER!