Mom, I Did It Because ….

sekolah_kristen_ipeka_ibu_dan_anak_perempuanTwo children are walking together in a park. Then, they saw a young man who was running and he didn’t realize that a piece of money had fallen from his bag. One of the children said, “Let’s take it, no one will see. Then, we eat ice cream.” The other child chimed in, “Even though no one sees, God sees you. And it’s not ours. We better take the money and then give it to the young man.”

There may be many children who have experienced a similar incident, but every child has different responses. The responses shown by children can be the same, but the underlying motivation can be different. For example, during this condition, if only there are two children who don’t take the money. The first child did it for fear of being caught, but the second child did it because he knew it was the right thing to do. In fact, the second child returned the money. The difference between the first and second child is their motivation, they do it because they are afraid of being caught or they do it because they know it’s the right thing to do. Of course, the best motivation for a child to do something is because he knows it is right and not because he is afraid of being punished.

Then how to build this motivation in children? Here are some examples that parents can do.

  • Avoid using threat language for children. If a child is built with threatening language, then he will be used to do something out of fear of being punished. Examples of threatening language such as “Watch it, I will ...”, or “So, you dare to raise against me, I will ... ”. Parents can replate it with more secure language such as “Come on, sis, put the toys back to their places. You can’t play with your toys if you lose your toys. Mom will be sad if you lost the toys that she bought for you.”
  • Try to provide a moral explanation of the child’s expected behavior. For example, parents can provide a moral explanation for the behavior of children who kick others. The moral explanation is that when we kick someone, that person will be in pain and their heart will be sad. Parents’ hearts will also be sad because their children hurt others. In addition, God’s heart will also be sad because the humans He created hurt each other.
  • Take time to discuss the moral values of the contents of a story or film and daily events. Parents can discuss the behavior of the characters in the event and the appropriate behavior in the situation.
  • Avoid the judge’s attitude when the child comes up with their mistakes! An attitude that accuses and judges excessively will cause fear and trauma to the child so that he afraid to open up and admit his mistakes later. He will be trained to hide his mistakes so he doesn’t get caught or judged. When children make mistakes, parents can still provide consequences. However, children need to know that parents still love them, how parents feel about their children’s behavior, and comprehend the consequences that children receive.

Let us build children by sowing moral truth in their hearts and freeing children from threats of punishment. Hopefully, our children will understand that God sees the heart and motivation of every behavior. And may God find the hearts and motivations of the children in doing something because they want to love and please Him.


Budiman H. Pranoto, M.Psi., Psi., CGI

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