Monday, October 08, 2007

When you need to say something.

The other day I had to get after my brother for swearing in front of my son. It didn't feel good as I don't like to get angry with anyone (especially family), but it wasn't the first time he slipped up so I felt it was necessary. It was a quick ten second reprimand and nothing was said afterwards. This got me thinking, when is it good to reprimand and when is it good to just let things slide?

As a new father this is something I'm going to have to deal with on a daily basis. When do you let your kids get away with things and when do you step in to teach them a lesson or at least let them know you're in charge. Like most things it depends.

Let's use my situation with my brother as a example. Before my son was born I asked my brother to make sure he does not swear around my son. I'm not an angel by any means, but try my best to make sure I don't use vulgar language in front of others. I expect everyone - including my brother - to do the same. One could argue why didn't I include everyone, but being he swears more than the average person, I wanted to make a special point to try and put an end of his language using my son as a reason.

In this example, I didn't let his slip-up slide. I addressed it because there was a history. That is I made a point in the past to ask him to not swear in front of my son.

So a reason you may want to step in and address something is when there is a history of the behavior that you've made a point of addressing in the past. If you let it slide, the person may misunderstand your original position and begin to ignore it. By stepping in and reiterating your position, the person is reminded of your stance. While it can be uncomfortable - it was with my brother - respect is built. You're standing for something and want to make sure it's known and respected.

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