"Give your brother a kiss" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-13-2011, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure how I feel about this, I figured here would be a great place to work through my thoughts, hear others.

 

When DS1 does something (usually on accident) that hurts DS2 Dh says our usual, Be careful you hurt DS2 when you did X, or That wasn't nice, DS2 got hurt, we are nice to our brother ect...

Dh has begun to add "Give your brother a kiss" to say sorry.

 

I'm not sure how I feel about forced affection. On one hand I want to teach empathy and saying your sorry. On the other, I don't like the idea of forced affection or possible hallow apologies.

 

How do you teach empathy? Do you make your kids apologize? What about give affection?

 

 

I should note DS1 is generally very gentle and affectionate with DS2. He is a sweet child, but unaware of pain caused by him, BUT its not like he is hitting DS1 or anything just swinging toys, or pushing past, or trying to play and missing (like drums DS1 will be drumming and DS2 comes over DS1 doesn't notice fingers) And occasionally taking things (we're working on turn taking)

 

I don't expect the world he's only just 2, but teaching is always a good plan.


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#2 of 9 Old 10-13-2011, 11:01 AM
 
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i don't like forced apologies.  the strategy i've always used is to simply tell the one child (the damager) to look at the damagee's face and say.. look, child x is crying/looks unhappy/ is hurt. 

 

i might add, how do you think that makes x feel? 

 

in a different time and place, or through role playing, it's a good idea to talk about how to "make things right" and show dolls apologizing, or make sure to model that yourself.. especially if you can explain simply things like.. mommy yelled and saw that it made you sad.  mommy is sorry. 

 

i think it's better to let the kids learn to apologize on their own, same for affection.  i can see how kids who are made to physically apologize (hugs, kisses, handshakes, etc.) could grow resentful and not want to show sincere affection later on.


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#3 of 9 Old 10-13-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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Our kids (6 & 4) have been going to an alternative preschool for a year and I really like the way that they deal with this. The child who has hurt the other child (on purpose or by accident) has to stay and "accompany" the other child, until the other child feels okay (they just have to sit there - they don't need to do or say anything). So, the one who causes the situation has to stay very present. Then, depending on what happened, the carer will talk to the child about it.

 

So, no one actually has to say anything forced, or give affection unless they want to, but they do have to face up to the situation and see how that they did upset the other child. What I see happening now is that when a child falls or gets hurt, they will often go and sit with the child and "accompany" them until they're okay. And, if they hurt each other, they often demand that the other sits with them until they're okay.

 

I'm not sure if I've explained it well, but it really does seem to encourage empathy and personal responsibility for other people's feelings. I am also very uncomfortable with forced words and affection - so I really like this approach.


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#4 of 9 Old 10-13-2011, 02:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mami_Feliz View Post

Our kids (6 & 4) have been going to an alternative preschool for a year and I really like the way that they deal with this. The child who has hurt the other child (on purpose or by accident) has to stay and "accompany" the other child, until the other child feels okay (they just have to sit there - they don't need to do or say anything). So, the one who causes the situation has to stay very present. Then, depending on what happened, the carer will talk to the child about it.

 

So, no one actually has to say anything forced, or give affection unless they want to, but they do have to face up to the situation and see how that they did upset the other child. What I see happening now is that when a child falls or gets hurt, they will often go and sit with the child and "accompany" them until they're okay. And, if they hurt each other, they often demand that the other sits with them until they're okay.

 

I'm not sure if I've explained it well, but it really does seem to encourage empathy and personal responsibility for other people's feelings. I am also very uncomfortable with forced words and affection - so I really like this approach.


I do this to some extent with my daycare children. Take today for example, Child A shoved Child B off the rope swing platform (not sure if it was accidental or not) anyway Child A had to sit with Child B until CB felt better. In the few minutes they sat together, Child B rubbed Child A's back, said I'm sorry I hurt you, and told him he wanted to be spiderman for halloween. And just like that it was done.

 

It's been my experience that forced apologies backfire , um...I can clearly recall having to hug my little brother after inflicting some sort of big sister smackdown on him and whispering swears and threats in his ear mid hug. shy.gif

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#5 of 9 Old 10-13-2011, 02:42 PM
 
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I would let it pass.  Your dh may stop saying it anyway.  You may be able to model what you'd like to see your dh do.  My youngest is the same age as your oldest and is just a baby.  I would not ever force a hug or kiss but I would ask the older child to "get" what had happened.  To comfort and help the one who was hurt.  I wouldn't make them "say sorry" because I don't think they could understand that.


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#6 of 9 Old 10-13-2011, 03:32 PM
 
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I would rephrase it into: "do you want to give your brother a kiss"?


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#7 of 9 Old 10-13-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

 To comfort and help the one who was hurt.  I wouldn't make them "say sorry" because I don't think they could understand that.


 

yeah, my kids are closely spaced and there was only so much my older DD understood. I don't see the point of forced apologies. I used to encourage my older Dd to try to help cheer up my younger DD, saying something like "sister is sad, her fingers hurt. May be you could find her a nice toy to play with and may be we could cheer her up?"  It was more about developing empathy and transitioning back to the positive, not forcing empty statements.

 

Only so much can be expected from a 2 year old. But starting to learn empathy can happen.

 

I think one of the other problems with forced apologies is that it teaches that "I'm sorry" means "It's my fault," but there are lots of times we tell other people we are sorry when we are not to blame for what is wrong. We are being empathic and wish they didn't have they pain they have.  I realized this watching a friend argue with one of her children about whether or not he had to said he was sorry when he had accidentally hurt his sibling. The hurt sibling was completely ignored during this argument.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 9 Old 10-14-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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What helped us here is a book we read called "unconditional parenting" by Alfie Kohn. My kids are pretty close in age with the oldest being two. What he suggests more or less (I can't remember exactly) is basically to start apologizing to your kid like every week for anything that made him/her angry. So far it's been working with ds where he's a little more gentle with his brother and things. 

 

We also don't like the forced apologies. When ds1 hurts his little brother dh and I remind him to be gentle because now he's crying. So immediately ds1 gives his brother a kiss or pats him on the head (we also do that with his dolls and stuffed animals when we role play, and the kiss and pats are always ds1's  choice). When we are with friends and ds1 hurts one of his friends I don't make him apologize but instead we talk about it. I try to use the most natural consequence as possible which in this case it would be something along the lines of "if you hurt your friend he/she wont want to come here to play with you anymore"  then we discuss the importance of being nice to others etc. 

 

I know from experience how I never meant any of the forced apologies and hugs I had to give my brothers and I'm pretty sure it's the same with them. 

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#9 of 9 Old 10-16-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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We try to say something like "What you did hurt your brother. Is there anything you can do to make him feel better?" Sometimes they will offer a hug/kiss (and if it is refused that is ok too), or we can help them find something else to do - get an ice pack for an injury, a toy or something else that will help the sibling feel better, or just saying that "I won't do it again."


Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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