Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why I don't make my kids say "I'm sorry."

...because they are not!!!
The end.

I'm just kidding...kind of.  As we began the journey of learning how to help our girls heal.  I stumbled upon something that challenged the norm.  Kids with attachment issues or who have been neglect or abused during those first 3 years, don't develop a cause and effect.  And they have no remorse (which is why they are so dangerous as teens or adults if not helped).  Talk about frustrating!  Trying to teach remorse- nearly impossible feat!  In one book it recommended not making your child apologize because those are just empty words that fed into the front they are trying to put up.

How absolutely true that is!  Not only for G and A but for Caleb as well.  So normally it goes down like this.  Caleb is guilty of some horrible crime against his sisters (like hanging their baby in the tree by her hair), I separate him from the herd to reflect on what he has done (or to stare at his skylander poster).  I then go talk with him, "what did you do?"  "what should you have done?"  Then I'll ask if he wants to talk to the victim.  Then we will go negotiate terms of restitution (rub lotion on sisters feet, do sister's chores for a day, be in charge of picking up baby dolls...).  Action teaches remorse faster than any lecture from me would!  And we will hopefully not be adding to the overabundance of fake already taking over the earth.

But, that's not always true. I do teach my little ones to apologize.  Seth is learning now.  I make him apologize because, at 2 years old, it teaches him to obey me over his pride.  It teaches him how to reconcile, and it lays the ground work that his heart will eventually follow into.  

Let me tell you sweeter words have not been heard than when a child apologizes from his heart on his own free will.  So that is your upside down, parenting tip of the day.  Tomorrow we will investigate the health risk of wearing underwear, directly from the commando boys themselves Caleb and Luke!

photos courtesy of Caleb, my iphone and some quiet time to reflect

I think it's working, don't you?!


Kate said...

Oh this is true. I don't know about the attachment/abandonment issues... but with my little ones... Oy. M2 is the king of not saying sorry. And I do want him to. I want him to swallow that pride and tell me he's sorry for something done. I want him to listen and obey the rules and understand that it makes mommy sad when he ____. I pray that we'll be able to help them overcome the dangerous pride thing now so that it doesn't become a stumbling block later. I like the idea of putting action to the apology though. That's interesting. I'll be pondering that one. ... I also agree about that sweet voice saying "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry!" unprompted is music to my ears.

Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I teach elementary school, young elementary school and saying your sorry is getting easier, should be by November :). But - I also struggle to teach my "victims" to never say, "Okay," when someone is apologizing. I'm guilty of that as an adult ALL THE TIME. It's not okay. If you hang a babydoll from a tree, if someone takes your pencil, breaks your crayon, or cuts you in line. It's not, "okay." So, we're teaching our littles to say, "I accept you apology." It makes the apologizer feel better too. :)