It’s tough raising young children—keeping them safe, housed, fed, healthy, dressed, clean, entertained, loved, and of course, happy. But as they get older, we are faced with more challenges, like teaching them manners, teaching them about consent, and how to have and show kindness and respect. But how exactly does one do this? One way is to use teachable moments: like when your child does something insensitive or rude, and you find a way to spin a lesson into it. Take this one mom, for example, who taught her son an important lesson in respect after she discovered he was teasing a classmate.

Zowiie Williams is a mother living in Newtownards in Northern Ireland. Recently, she found out that her 6-year-old son, Callum, had said some awful things to a little girl in his class. It’s hard enough to find out your child is being picked on, but some might argue it’s even more complex when you discover it’s your own child who is in the wrong. In an interview with Metro UK, Williams said her son had some choice words for his ‘girlfriend,’ Billy-Rae, after he’d been left out of a girls-only game of duck, duck, goose.

“When I got home he came to me and told me how bad he felt and in his words he ‘made a mistake,'” Williams said in the interview.

Williams recognized right away that it was important not to just punish her son for what he did. It was not enough to send him to his room or take away his toys, or to even have a discussion about it. Here, she saw an opportunity, especially when Callum asked his mother what he could do to make it up to Billy-Rae.

“I asked him what else he thinks he should do. He said he wanted to apologise,” the mom said, adding that the boy also wanted to bring the little girl flowers, just as Williams’ own husband does whenever he says something he shouldn’t have.

Williams went a step further to explain to her son that the flowers themselves would not “fix” his mistakes—an important thing to add since a child might mistakenly believe this to be true.

The next day, Callum went to school with his head held high, a bouquet in his hand, ready to apologize. Williams wrote all about it in this now-viral Facebook post:

Fortunately, little Billy-Rae accepted Callum’s apology and they are “back together,” so to speak.

Williams believes that rather than telling a child they did something wrong, or immediately punishing them, we should ask them what they think should happen first. You’d be surprised what kids come up with. I wholeheartedly agree.

(Image: Facebook / Zowiee Williams)