Choose Your Battle Part 3

17 Mar

The difference between tolerance and acceptance is subtle but simple.

Most of us draw lines regarding what behavior we will accept from others. Typically we draw a fairly clear line. When we receive more information, we may modify what we define as acceptable.

Tolerance is about moving the line, not erasing it.

Only a few things should be “cast in stone”—save that for the most important values you want to instill, such as honesty or politeness which is very difficult for any child to mount a substantial argument. Kids are going to move the lines that get in their way if we try to draw too many. It’s their nature.

Because many situations with our children are emotionally charged, we tend to react emotionally. This is natural. Choosing tolerance comes with practice and a little discipline not to react immediately. We can still express a strong reaction, but by taking a moment to hold some tolerance, we can more easily justify our reaction and our children will more readily accept it.

The key is to remember that the more thought and care we invest in our actions towards our children, the better we will be able to help them manage their increasingly complicated lives. Our use and respect of our own energy becomes the most fundamental tool in dealing with our kids, and can impact all aspects of our lives.


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