Crying Over Spilled Milk

A Great Idea …

“From minor mishaps children can learn major lessons in values. Children need to learn from their parents to distinguish between events that are merely unpleasant and annoying and those that are tragic and catastrophic.” (Child psychologist, Haim Ginott, in his book, Between Parent and Child, p. 41)

In Other Words …

When we blow up over spilled milk (and other minor problems), we communicate that we care more about milk than about children and their feelings. There are better responses. When milk is spilled, we can say simply: “That’s a shame. Here’s a cloth.” We can offer gentle compassion and appropriate consequences-but blowing up is not helpful.

How This Applies to You …

The next time something happens that upsets you, stop. This is an opportunity to show your values. Offer compassion to your child. Invite him or her to help you solve the problem. You will feel much better and your child will learn what matters most.

To Find Out More …

For an excellent (and free!) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at and if your children are younger than six, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott or Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman.

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