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post #41 of 124
Since it seems to be an informal poll, we don't do forced apologies either (most of the time.) When my children are forced to apologize, I emphasize that the other child really needs to hear an apology in order to feel better. It's very rare that they are forced.

I think, putting myself into the same situation, that a couple of things were going on that have nothing to do with you. The mother may have been having other stressors in her life that just exploded out at that moment. Also, she seems to think that her son can do no wrong. There's nothing you can do about that one. I've been guilty of being a little too biased towards my oldest son. I view him as sweet and sensitive and needing of my help and intervention a lot, but I've learned that it's not true and he's capable of being an instigator. I have a friend who sees her son that way and to me, there's nothing sweet or sensitive about that kid.

If you see her in the future, I'd just stay a little distant and pay close attention to make sure that she doesn't try to punish your son herself by being overly rough with him verbally or making snide comments. I wouldn't overdiscipline my son when she's around just to make her happy though. Like others have said, just be more available to help him navigate those social situations for awhile.
post #42 of 124
Since others have shared their reasons, I'll add mine. I don't do forced apologies for a few reasons:

1) I don't want my children thinking "I'm sorry" is a get out of jail free card.

2) I see no value in teaching them to lie. If they're not sorry, I don't feel that saying they are is "appropriate social interaction". It's a lie, plain and simple...and one they're using to duck the consequences of their actions.

3) The biggie, for me, is that I've been on the receiving end of multiple false apologies in my life (when bullies were caught in school, and from a couple of emotionally abusive people in my life). I knew they weren't real, and they made me feel worse than the original crappy treatment did. I realize it gave the people forcing the apologies a warm fuzzy feeling to know they were doing the "right" thing, and teaching others to be good people, but I don't think they were doing that. I think they were teaching some really nasty people how to get out of trouble easily.
post #43 of 124
I also have my own reasons why I dont do forced apologies. I remember about 3-5 years ago, my SIL called me and starting ripping my a new one saying how pissed she was at this message I left for her. Then she proceeded to call me a "freak" and then brought up stuff I have done in the past as if to use it as a weapon. I cut it short really fast, said she had no right to talk to me that way and when she felt like talking like a calm person she could call me back. She did then call me back that afternoon and said she misunderstood my message and she was really sorry for her behavior (never mentioned the name calling, just calling and yelling at me) and I said fine. I was pretty silent. So she said- well are you not sorry too? And I replied sorry for what? She said well I always teach my kids to say they are sorry too. I said- what am I sorry for you calling me and ripping me a new one? No I am not sorry nor will I offer up a phony one either. I left it at that and she tried to change the subject and act like everything was fab. So she asked if I wanted to go to lunch the next day etc and I said, I am not available and I had to go.

She has had similar incidents with others like this- her daughter decided to hit my aunt for no reason other than to melt down because the kid was tired. SIL made her dd say she was sorry and it was a phony one and then she waited for my aunt to say something. Then said- are you going to say sorry and my aunt said- what for getting hit by your kid? No I am not.

This is the reason I will not make my kids say that unless they really do mean they are sorry. But after talking back and fourth, my kids would be sorry for hitting someone else. I would also remind them, if they were hit or had their feelings hurt, they would want someone to say sorry to them.


Moving on to the C family. Mrs C may have the same issues with her son having trouble mixing in, but its not as noticable who knows. Or she may have something else going on in her head and this was just the icing on the cake that day. We all have had days like this.

But I have a strong feeling you are not the first person she has lashed out at and wont be the last. I would not be surprised if the others gave each other knowing glances and were not surprised.

She should feel lucky I was not present because I would have had her mouth closed within minutes even though she was yelling at you. Being a people person, I have had my share of dealing w the playground bully, crazy coworker, bullying customer who is angry, quick tempered mother or parent and even evil teens and a few nicu nurses. I would have done it quickly and smoothly and this person would not know how I shut her up so fast. I handled this woman last summer or her evil twin who lives in my neighborhood. She had been lashing out at people for months or years and when she picked me one day, she got it good. I let her know that she may not speak to me or anyone in my family that way and if she did it again, there would be hell to pay. I also added I was done defending her actions and behaviors to others and she should really rethink this tactic no matter what the situation was because it was very unbecoming to her and it really solved nothing. She ended up giving me a very sincere apology but could not look me in the eye for months. And since others witnessed it, I had people telling me for weeks how glad they were someone told her off. I stretched it about defending her since I agreed she has no right to do that, but I would say to the victim, maybe she had a bad day blah blah blah until it was twice too many. But at least she knew others talked about her behavior. She hasnt lashed out for a while.

So hopefully, someone has said something to this Mrs C and if you see her again, I would let her know that you were concerned about her son and your son but until she can conduct herself in an adult way, you have nothing to say to her and you are going to continue to go to the coop.
post #44 of 124
Just out of curiosity (and maybe this should be it's own thread)-- if you do forced apologies, do you do forced forgiveness as well? Like, if someone says they're sorry, does your kid have to say "I forgive you?"
post #45 of 124
DD is almost 4. I can't force her to do anything! I wish! However, if she hits someone, I expect her to apologize for hitting. If she didn't apologize for hitting, I would apologize to the other child, for DD's hitting, and then take her home at that point.

In the OP's situation, I wouldn't expect her child to take all the blame, or apologize for taking the ball. But apologize for hitting, because hitting is never o kay. And ideally, since it sounds like they were bonking each other, the other kid should apologize too.

Anyway, it's kind of splitting hairs though--the OP interceded, calmed the situation down, dealt with it--I don't think the OP has anything to feel bad about in the situation. An apology is a nice thing, but it's not like the OP let her kid run amok without handling the situation. Hang in there, OP!
post #46 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Since others have shared their reasons, I'll add mine. I don't do forced apologies for a few reasons:

1) I don't want my children thinking "I'm sorry" is a get out of jail free card.

2) I see no value in teaching them to lie. If they're not sorry, I don't feel that saying they are is "appropriate social interaction". It's a lie, plain and simple...and one they're using to duck the consequences of their actions.

3) The biggie, for me, is that I've been on the receiving end of multiple false apologies in my life (when bullies were caught in school, and from a couple of emotionally abusive people in my life). I knew they weren't real, and they made me feel worse than the original crappy treatment did. I realize it gave the people forcing the apologies a warm fuzzy feeling to know they were doing the "right" thing, and teaching others to be good people, but I don't think they were doing that. I think they were teaching some really nasty people how to get out of trouble easily.
ITA!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Just out of curiosity (and maybe this should be it's own thread)-- if you do forced apologies, do you do forced forgiveness as well? Like, if someone says they're sorry, does your kid have to say "I forgive you?"
excellent point!
post #47 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
My children don't "grunt" sorry. Thanks. I have taught them from a very early age that they need to apologize when they have wronged someone. I don't just tell them to say sorry and then let them run away. We have a discussion every. single. time. We discuss why what they did hurt someone, how that person might be feeling and how we can make it better. If you wrong someone you should apologize. Seems pretty straightforward to me. I am happy to report that they aren't little ingrates "grunting" apologies at people as they run by, but caring children who, at 6 and 8 year old, know how to treat other people when you do something wrong.
But what meaning is there to a word with no feeling behind it?
post #48 of 124
Heavenly-

those who don't do forced apologies DO teach that you should reconcile (And that ONE of the ways to do that is saying sorry) We do teach how that person might feel and how we can make it better. we do discuss why the other person was hurt.

WE just don't have the "say sorry or else" approach. we encourage it, but iultimately its the child's responsability to apologize if they think it is in order.

And I DO NOT agree with apologizing when you don't think you did anything wrong. And I understand "its not what you said its what the other person heard"... yes - thats the problem, the way the other person heard it... but WHOSE problem is that?

Example: I argue with my mom. My mom says my sister will need therapy because we argued in front of her (she's 13) and I say if that is so she probably already needed therapy. MY mom says "are you trying to say she is cutting herself?!" I say VERY CLEARLY : NO I AM NOT SAYING THAT. SHE NEVER SAID THAT TO ME AND I AM IN NO WAY SAYING THAT TO YOU. After I leave, my mom calls her friend and says "(my name) says that (sisters name) is cutting herself" (my sister told me, and since I kno my mom very well, I know its true because I've seen her do this exact thing 1,000 times at least before)

So - should *I* apologize because my mom heard my sister is cutting herself when I said she probably already does need therapy? I spent a good deal of my life being forced to apologize because of what my mom or someone else "heard". I lived a good part of my life walking on eggshells desperately searing for the right words to use so they could not be manipulated to make me feel like a bad guy. I will not do that to my children. My children know their intentions. God knows their intentions. They are responsible to themselves to do the right thing. They are not responsible to apologize to someone who HEARS something different then what they are ACTUALLY saying. We cannot be accountable for what OTHERS hear, we are accountable for what WE say. Of course, we should be considerate and try to say things in a kind way - there are times when apologizing for misunderstandings are in order - but there is never a time to feel manipulated into apologizing when your heart was in the right place.

As for the situation, sure the child should have apologized for his part. And I think we can teach our children that we can do the right thing (apologize) even if the other person doesn't. Because we arent responsible for the other person doing the right thing. We shouldn't let other people's shortcomings (not apologizing even though they were wrong "first") become our own shortcomings.

This is something we teach children - forcing them does not TRULY teach this. giving an ultimatum to apologize will NOT teach this. Giving the understanding and motivation to apologize is what will teach this.

I really don't like when people make their kids apologize to my kids when they don't mean it. and my kids don't like it either. and it causes a LOT of tension between friends when this happens
post #49 of 124
Thread Starter 
Back on topic cuz I need more advice...

She emailed me today. And I have no clue what to think. Just when I was feeling peace, I get this horrible stressed-out feeling. She accuses my son of some awful behavior, but in this backhanded nice way, and then she goes on to say she has seen him act like this time and time again. Like that is all he does. She barely knows me. And I have seen her child act out. Time and time again. Isn't that what kids do sometimes? Shoot, as my husband says, even adults act out... as she did.

She apologized for her outburst, explains some reasoning behind it (she was picked on, her child is sensitive), says I obviously have my hands full with three kids and can't handle them all (but in a nice way, so I guess that should make me feel better about it). She also blames my son for everything that happened there, even going on to say when he was playing tag he had "a malicious look in his eye when he did it, like he knew full well what he was doing", and tagged C. DS has no recollection of tagging C, at all.

The kicker is that she says it is obvious we do not give DS enough attention at home which is why he is acting out.

Then she says she would love to help me, basically gain control of my kids.

While I appreciate her apology and I do know that I owe her one for DS hitting C, the rest of the email infuriates me.
post #50 of 124
she's gaslighting you.
http://www.enotalone.com/article/16906.html

(hugs)

Unfortunately, there is NOTHING you can say to her, and engaging the conversation any further is only going to make YOU feel bad even though you aren't doing anything wrong.

If you feel you must reply keep it short and sweet and avoid sounding defensive. And as tempting as it would be (for me) to be passively aggressive right back, you need to avoid that as well.

"Thank you for taking the time to email me. I feel confident between the two of us we can help the boys resolve any similar problems with eachother in the future. Have a nice day!"
post #51 of 124
It seems to me that age 7 1/2 your kids should be able to work out playground issues (so and so took my ball, so and so called me a weirdo) by themselves with assistance only from parents. I think you stepped in just enough, given the setting. There are a wide range of parenting responses that I would consider appropriate in this situation, from breaking up the fight and having the boys apologize to each other immediately, to having them take a break, to leaving. I think that judgment call should be left to the mother, by making him take a break you were not being permissive.

Honestly, if some one were to write me an email like that, I would not respond, at all, especially over email. If I said anything it would be a reply "Take me off of your email list."
post #52 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Just out of curiosity (and maybe this should be it's own thread)-- if you do forced apologies, do you do forced forgiveness as well? Like, if someone says they're sorry, does your kid have to say "I forgive you?"
This is an excellent question.

First, I want to say that our "forced" apology is NOT a lie. My children are taught to "apologize" not just say "I am sorry", and they can wait until they are ready, however they can not continue until they do.

For example, when "Tank" hit his brother today. I sent him to his room to think about it. I would not allow him to continue playing with them until he had apologized. He sat in his room for about five minutes and then asked if he could come out now. I asked him if he were ready to apologize, and he said yes. So he went and found "Energizer" and said, "Energizer, I'm sorry for hitting you." "Energizer replied with an, 'I forgive you'" and then they continued with their playing. "Tank" is 4 years old.

He has been taught that he must apologize (not with a generic "I'm sorry" but with a true apology that includes his offense). This reminds him what he did wrong as well the need to "fix it". The apology does not give him a get out of jail free card either. There are consequences to all actions. Sometimes the apology is all that is required but most of the time, an apology is only the first step, then there is restitution or some other appropriate consequence to make the offended party "whole" (or as "whole" as can be made under the circumstances).

I have taught them the need to forgive, as well. I do not "force" forgiveness, however, I live it in front of them, and let them know how important it is. So, they almost always offer an "I forgive you" when they are apologized to.


I can tell when they really apologize. And if it is not sincere they are welcome to set themselves apart until they are ready.


Anyways, I find it important for them to learn how to apologize willingly and quickly. This is a taught response, IME. And if taught early in life it tends to come our easier and more genuine.
post #53 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
I can tell when they really apologize. And if it is not sincere they are welcome to set themselves apart until they are ready.
What if they're not sorry? What if setting themselves apart doesn't make them feel sorry? Do they have to just lie until it sounds sincere or what do they do?

Quote:
Anyways, I find it important for them to learn how to apologize willingly and quickly. This is a taught response, IME. And if taught early in life it tends to come our easier and more genuine.
Interesting. IME, those who apologize most easily are often (maybe even usually) the ones who mean it the least.

I've seen several people in this thread talk about how they tell their children that they should apologize to make the other person feel better. How do you know what the other person feels? How do you know it makes them feel better?

I've had many apologies in my life. Most of them were irrelevant - no real offense, no issue (eg. "I'm sorry" when bumping into someone in line). That kind of apology is often sincere, imo. The people who don't care about being rude won't even offer one. There really isn't an issue of having hurt someone, though - just an inconvenience thing...it's more of an "I'm not trying to be rude" thing than an "I know I hurt you and I feel bad" thing.

Other than those, the vast majority of apologies I've had fall into "making the other person feel good". People who treated me like crap, but knew that if they just apologized, everything would be okay. Whatever. I'm sure their parents and teachers thought they were teaching them to be good people, considerate people, etc. etc. They weren't learning that. They were learning that the appropriate follow-up to being snotty to people is "I'm sorry" and then you're off the hook. None of those apologies ever made me feel better.

And...then there were the guys from high school who apologized at our 10 year reunion. That's probably the only time in my life that "I'm sorry" actually meant anything. That was almost 13 years ago, and it still gives me a warm feeling when I think of it. They thought long and hard about the way they'd treated me, realized it was appalling and felt bad...and they wanted me to know that.
post #54 of 124
I'm going to jump on the apology aspect of this thread...maybe it should be a new thread?

My 2.5 year old has taken to doing something "wrong" and then shouting this annoying "Saw-Ree!!". It's like when a child intentionally drops/throws/does something and then says "oops". It drives me nuts.

Our preschool is a fan of 'doing something' to show you're sorry rather than just saying sorry (since kids don't fully get empathy at this particular age). Singing the kid a song. Restoring what they destroyed. Kissing/hugging the wronged party, if appropriate and desired. Etcetera. I can't always make my boy say "I'm sorry", but he'll often say "I won't do that to you again" (though he invariably does, of course). I actually like that better in a way. At least it's another option for something to say and it can actually carry more meaning

As for the OP. I would just kill this lady with kindness. I like the sample response that someone else posted. Short and sweet interactions are probably your best bet for the two of you. You'll be around her in the future and don't want to burn bridges. Yet you probably don't want to get into much of a dialouge with her either, you know? Try to say things that you can genuinely mean if possible. And try to give her the benefit of the doubt too...not to say 'she's right and you're wrong'....more like 'you're both doing what feels right for yourself'.
post #55 of 124
I haven't read more than the first page of posts but I thought I'd add my thoughts and come back later to read the rest.

In the best of circumstances, if my son hit another person I wouldn't demand an immediate apology be issued, and I wouldn't publicly reprimand but I would bring him near me so he could sit beside me until he was calm and in a good frame of mind to consider his actions. Then I'd ask him to talk to the other boy and try to, as we put it, "start over". Usually that means an apology and a request for forgiveness, but it might mean a hand shake or a simple, "hey, let's start over".

I would be injured over the other mother's actions and her obnoxious, terrible example. But I would try to tell myself the issue is my own child's behavior, since that is what I can influence. And since you don't think his actions are that out of line--and I don't necessarily, either. I mean to say I guess hitting another child is out of line but normal enough and part of what happens when kids get together and very much a dealable, and teachable, situation--you simple need to take whatever action is needed to help your child deal better in this kind of situation.

I just read about the e-mail. Ouch! She sounds pretty conniving and mean-spirited. I'd consider her toxic and avoid!
post #56 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savoury View Post
Back on topic cuz I need more advice...

She emailed me today. And I have no clue what to think. Just when I was feeling peace, I get this horrible stressed-out feeling. She accuses my son of some awful behavior, but in this backhanded nice way, and then she goes on to say she has seen him act like this time and time again. Like that is all he does. She barely knows me. And I have seen her child act out. Time and time again. Isn't that what kids do sometimes? Shoot, as my husband says, even adults act out... as she did.

She apologized for her outburst, explains some reasoning behind it (she was picked on, her child is sensitive), says I obviously have my hands full with three kids and can't handle them all (but in a nice way, so I guess that should make me feel better about it). She also blames my son for everything that happened there, even going on to say when he was playing tag he had "a malicious look in his eye when he did it, like he knew full well what he was doing", and tagged C. DS has no recollection of tagging C, at all.

The kicker is that she says it is obvious we do not give DS enough attention at home which is why he is acting out.

Then she says she would love to help me, basically gain control of my kids.

While I appreciate her apology and I do know that I owe her one for DS hitting C, the rest of the email infuriates me.
wow what a mess! I would email her back maybe she should call you and not send emails. I would talk to the coop organizer and complain about her abuse.
post #57 of 124
I guess part of this is our definition of "apologize". You see, apologize is not just a word, but is actually to offer an apology or excuse for some fault, insult, failure, or injury. So, I teach my children to apologize with the idea of either offering a "reason" or "excuse" along with a sincere request for forgiveness.

So, it may come across soemthing like, "Energizer, I am sorry for hitting you. I was angry because you took my toy, but I should not have hit you."

It is not really about making the offended person "feel better" because, quite frankly it is not likely to do that. It is about what is right. And THEN, once the apology has been made, it is up to the offender to attempt to make it up to them, although sometimes it is not that easy. That is where the consequenses come in. (And I do not "force" apologies for things that are not clearly their fault.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
What if they're not sorry? What if setting themselves apart doesn't make them feel sorry? Do they have to just lie until it sounds sincere or what do they do?
If they are not truly sorry, they will not HAVE to apologize, but they will have still have to make it up to the offended person. And it is not easy to do when you are holding a grudge. Then, the consequenses can be more and/or longer than if there had been a true apology.

We really try and make the "punishment fit the crime". So, while we will offer them a chance to "fix it" themselves, if it is not an adequate attempt or a true apology, I will "top it off" with an additional consequence.

This is just how I teach my children and live my life. It works for us and my children have learned to be very polite and kind to people, offering appropriate apologies when needed. But it may not work for everyone.

But, I guess I have gotten quite far off OT. I guess this is really a topic more suited to a new thread.
post #58 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savoury View Post
Back on topic cuz I need more advice...

She emailed me today. And I have no clue what to think. Just when I was feeling peace, I get this horrible stressed-out feeling. She accuses my son of some awful behavior, but in this backhanded nice way, and then she goes on to say she has seen him act like this time and time again. Like that is all he does. She barely knows me. And I have seen her child act out. Time and time again. Isn't that what kids do sometimes? Shoot, as my husband says, even adults act out... as she did.

She apologized for her outburst, explains some reasoning behind it (she was picked on, her child is sensitive), says I obviously have my hands full with three kids and can't handle them all (but in a nice way, so I guess that should make me feel better about it). She also blames my son for everything that happened there, even going on to say when he was playing tag he had "a malicious look in his eye when he did it, like he knew full well what he was doing", and tagged C. DS has no recollection of tagging C, at all.

The kicker is that she says it is obvious we do not give DS enough attention at home which is why he is acting out.

Then she says she would love to help me, basically gain control of my kids.

While I appreciate her apology and I do know that I owe her one for DS hitting C, the rest of the email infuriates me.


I don't think there's any way to reason with her. I would not respond.
post #59 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Just out of curiosity (and maybe this should be it's own thread)-- if you do forced apologies, do you do forced forgiveness as well? Like, if someone says they're sorry, does your kid have to say "I forgive you?"
I don't like the term "forced" apologies, as if I am standing there with a fun to their heads. I prefer "encouraged." And no, they do not have to say they forgive someone but if someone apologizes they should say, "Thank you for apologizing."
post #60 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Glue Mommy View Post
And I DO NOT agree with apologizing when you don't think you did anything wrong. And I understand "its not what you said its what the other person heard"... yes - thats the problem, the way the other person heard it... but WHOSE problem is that?
That situation totally sucks. That's emotionally manipulative and dishonest, for someone to have a pattern of deliberately and self-servingly twisting another's words.

But where you don't know that to be the pattern, ie in general discourse with others/acquaintances, I think it's demonstrating social skill to try and fit our actions/words to how we can predict others will perceive us. In the OP's example, the lesson for her son is how to (and not to) join social play.

As for requiring apologies, the apology is not exclusively about how the other person feels as much as it's about navigating social relationships and having standards of behaviour for ourselves. When my son has hit another child, he knows that he should not have struck the other child and needs to mend fences as a matter of principle (this is at six, not younger ages).
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