Guilt is a crummy emotion, one that most of us try to avoid, either by not doing things we would be ashamed of (stealing candy, cheating on our spouses) or by rationalizing our actions so that guilt can be safely ignored (I needed a treat; my spouse is mean to me). But guilt is actually a useful, necessary feeling that helps us develop into fully formed humans with consciences.
And to that end, you absolutely 할까요 teach your your kids to feel guilty when it’s appropriate, says Perri Klass, a pediatrician writing for the 뉴욕 타임즈: “Certain kinds of guilt are a healthy part of child development.” She addresses the concept of “moral guilt”—a feeling akin to empathy in that it makes us feel bad because we have done something to make someone 그밖에 feel bad.
But there are also, of course, people who frankly don’t have 충분히 shame or guilt, people who don’t have those negative feelings and learn from their mistakes—and so keep on harming other people. Some children do have a reduced capacity for empathy and therefore guilt, and the responsible parent will want to address that by helping a child develop her conscience. It can get tricky, because we don’t want children, who lack perspective about their own position and agency in the world, to feel overly responsible for other people’s feelings—but we also don’t want little Brendan to be whacking all the kids with dead cats and skipping off laughing, either.
The key, says Klass, is to focus on what the child can do differently next time: “Guilt when it’s constructive should give a child an appropriate sense of power and agency, a realistic determination to do things differently. Focus on specific actions, and not on the child’s character; the message is not that there is something wrong with the child, but that the child chose to do something wrong, with certain results.” Dr. Malti introduces the idea of “guilt induction,” or a kind of emotional narrating that links together the action and the consequences: “Your friend is crying because you hit him in the face with a dump truck.”
Kids will have to learn what is actually their responsibility and what isn’t (again, something that many adults struggle with), and as kids get older the parent will want to help children, especially those that struggle with anxiety and depression, to put their actions and the consequences in perspective. With this in mind, we hope to raise kids who behave morally, are chastened when they violate their own moral codes, and, at the very least, don’t grow to steal cars and cheat on their spouses.