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#1 of 20 Old 06-18-2011, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday, my 5 yo DD was in the backyard along with myself, my two younger kids and an adult family friend B. DD was playing with a squishy ball and threw it at B's head, hitting her. DD claims it was an accident, but I saw her do it and she aimed. I tried to get her to apologize to B but she flat out refused to do it. Now, DD can be a little shy, esp with B. She's not too bad with people she sees often (grandparents) but even though she see B two or three times a month, she more or less refuses to talk to her. I don't push it and sometimes DD will relax and turn into a chatter box. Sometimes she won't. Either way we just go with the flow. Except yesterday, I really felt that an apology was necessary. She threw the ball and hit B in the head and that's kind of my line in the sand. But she just refused to do it. Our converstation went something like this:

 

Me: You hurt B. What should you do when you hurt someone?

DD: Say sorry.

Me: So should you say sorry to B?

DD: Yes.

Me: Ok, lets go.

DD: No.

Me: Why not?

DD: Because.

Me: Because what?

DD: Because!

Me: Because WHAT??!

DD: BECAUSE!! *screams in my face*

 

This converstation repeated several times in various manners. As I"m sure you can imagine, things basically broke down into a screaming match complete with temper tantrums (her and I both, I'll be honest). There was NOTHING I could coax, threaten or entice her with that would have made her apologize. I offered to hold her hand, I told her she didn't even have to look at B, I told her she'd have to stay in her room until she apologized, I told her she'd feel better once she apologized, I threatened spanking, I did spank (not my proudest moment and I already feel bad enough about it so plz let that one lie). Still a flat out refusal to apologize. She ended up staying in her room the rest of the night which she thought was just great fun and accomplished a whole lot of nothing. How could this have been handled differently? I do feel that she needed to apologize because she did hit B, accidently or on purpose doesn't really matter, you hit someone you apologize.

 

Also, I'd say its pretty obvious we don't communicate well. I can't get the girl to tell me anything. I get a lot of "I don't know"s. I'm fairly certain I'm just asking in the wrong way, but I can't figure out the *right* way, kwim? I really want to lay down a good foundation of communication now. I find I end up naming what I think is wrong and basically she always tells me I'm right. Either I'm really good at reading her or she's just adopting whatever emotion or situation I'm throwing out. I'm concerned its the latter.  I want so desperately to talk with her and communicate and connect, I just don't know how. I want the mother/daughter relationship I never had (and most likely never will have) with my mother w/ my own DD. I want to do better than my mother, but so far I'm following in her footsteps. Please help me break the cycle.


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#2 of 20 Old 06-19-2011, 07:06 AM
 
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The first thing is I think you should have started out by asking her why she hit B in the head instead of immediately forcing her to apologize. Then, if she didn't want to apologize, you could have asked her why she didn't want her to apologize as well. And then putting kids on the spot and talking about them in front of the other person involved (B) can be humiliating for kids, so you could have taken her away in private and talked to her calmly in private about what happened. It sounds like you might have wanted to show B you were in control of your dd, and that was behind your choices. I know how hard it is to discipline in front of others who might be judging you.

Also, I think it's better to simply apologize for a child than force her to apologize and turn it into a huge dramatic power struggle. It's possible if it hadn't degenerated into screaming, tantrums, and spanking, that she would later express regret and you could have her write a note to B telling her she was sorry. A forced apology isn't a real apology anyway. At this point though, she probably feels like the victim and will never feel true regret for what she did.

One final thing - I think it's best to assume the best possible and practical intentions for our kids. You said you could tell she aimed, but that might be your perception and not reality. I wouldn't assume she hit B in the head on purpose. Kids don't really aim that well. She might have been aiming for B in general, not for her head. If she hadn't aimed for her and you accused her of it, that might be why she felt so wronged that she refused to apologize and got into the power struggle with you.
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#3 of 20 Old 06-19-2011, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To clarify, I did take her away and talked with her in private. Everything that happened-particularly the yelling and all the bad stuff-happened in private. B was outside playing with the little two and DD and I were inside, so its not like there was even just a door between DD and B.

 

Thanks for the response, you've given me some things to ponder.

 

Just curious, how do you know when its best to assume a kid had the best possible intentions? I understand what you are saying and why but how can you be sure the kid isn't just lying and constantly getting away with lies? For instance say a kid is alone in a room. Parent walks in to find kid and broken vase together. Kid looks and acts guilty but says she didn't do it. If the kid is lying and the parent give the kid the benefit of the doubt, doesn't that just teach the kid that lying gets you out of trouble? I do see where it would've worked in my exact situation, I'm more confused about general idea of it.


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#4 of 20 Old 06-19-2011, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 3xMama View Post

Just curious, how do you know when its best to assume a kid had the best possible intentions? I understand what you are saying and why but how can you be sure the kid isn't just lying and constantly getting away with lies? For instance say a kid is alone in a room. Parent walks in to find kid and broken vase together. Kid looks and acts guilty but says she didn't do it. If the kid is lying and the parent give the kid the benefit of the doubt, doesn't that just teach the kid that lying gets you out of trouble? I do see where it would've worked in my exact situation, I'm more confused about general idea of it.

 

 

Lying does get you out of trouble much of the time. People lie out of self-preservation. If you are a safe person to be truthful with, your child is far less likely to lie. If Kid breaks a vase and knows from past experience that Parent freaks out, yells, screams, and doles out punishment for accidents, then Kid is probably going to lie. If Kid breaks a vase and Parent expresses disappointment about the broken vase but acknowledges that sh*t-happens-be-more-careful-next-time, Kid is more likely to tell you what really happened. This becomes increasingly important when the issue isn't broken household items, but stuff like sex, drugs, bullying, car accidents, etc.

 

So, if Kid breaks a vase, is punishment your first line of action? If so, why? Do you automatically assume that Kid intended to break the vase and did so purposely? If so, why do you assume that about Kid?

 

I agree with Mamazee about forced apologies. They are insincere and mean nothing except that big people can force little people to say things. I have never forced my kids to apologize to anyone. They are now 16 and 19 and surely know how to apologize when appropriate, and do. They learned by watching adults apologize.
 

 

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#5 of 20 Old 06-19-2011, 05:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 3xMama View Post
 How could this have been handled differently? I do feel that she needed to apologize because she did hit B, accidently or on purpose doesn't really matter, you hit someone you apologize.

 

Also, I'd say its pretty obvious we don't communicate well. I can't get the girl to tell me anything. I get a lot of "I don't know"s. I'm fairly certain I'm just asking in the wrong way, but I can't figure out the *right* way, kwim? I really want to lay down a good foundation of communication now. I find I end up naming what I think is wrong and basically she always tells me I'm right. Either I'm really good at reading her or she's just adopting whatever emotion or situation I'm throwing out. I'm concerned its the latter.  I want so desperately to talk with her and communicate and connect, I just don't know how. I want the mother/daughter relationship I never had (and most likely never will have) with my mother w/ my own DD. I want to do better than my mother, but so far I'm following in her footsteps. Please help me break the cycle.

 

 

hug2.gifto you. 

 

She's 5. You are a grown up. You sort of speak two different languages right now. You are going to have communication issues sometimes. Hang in there. Parenting is trial and error. Just try to learn from your mistakes, take it one day at a time (or one minute at a time) and strive for more positive interactions than negative, more good days than bad, more happy than sad. It'll work out in the end. You don't have to end up parenting exactly like your mother did if you don't want to. Being aware of it and attempting to do differently is a step in the right direction.

 

I think in regard to this specific scenario, maybe you should look back on what exactly you were trying to accomplish by trying to make her apologize.

Was it that you just wanted her to say the words "I'm sorry?" Or were you trying to teach her some empathy for how the other little girl felt by being hit with the ball? Or were you trying to teach her why hitting someone else with an object is wrong? Or were you wanting her to actually BE sorry for hitting her with the ball? 

 

 Maybe she WASN'T sorry she hit her. Maybe she felt the other girl had it coming. Maybe it was just an accident and she felt emabarrased that she hit her in the head. Maybe she was sorry and was just too uncomfortable saying the words right then and there. (I remember being around her age and time and time again my parents trying to force me to say "Yes Ma'am" instead of just "Yes" when I answered someone. Those moments of everyone staring at me, waiting for me to speak those words paralyzed me and I clammed up. Call it stage fright. Call it whatever...but I wasn't just being stubborn. I felt uncomfortable and just wanted people to turn their attention elsewhere.) Maybe she just took issue with you trying to make her apologize and was digging her heels in to exert some power over you. shrug.gif

 

If the exact same scenario were to happen again, I'd handle it this way: 

"DD, I see you hit your friend in the head with the squishy ball. That hurt her. Is there anything you'd like to say to her?"

 

If she apologizes, great. Maybe a reminder to be more careful with the ball, then end of story.

 

If she doesn't apologize, I'd say to the friend "I am sorry that DD hit you with the ball. Are you ok?" Then I'd explain to DD that since she hurt her friend and didn't apologize, perhaps she needs to stop playing for a bit. If she wants to keep playing, I'd let her know that she needs to be more careful and if she throws the ball at friend's head again, accident or not, she will need to _____________. (go inside by herself for five minutes, sit next to me for a bit, not be allowed to play with the ball for the remainder of the playtime,  whatever else you think would be the most appropriate consequence for the behavior.)

 

Then I'd drop it, while keeping am eye on them and follow through if she did it again. 

 

 

 


 

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#6 of 20 Old 06-19-2011, 05:26 PM
 
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If I saw my dd alone in a room with a broken vase, I wouldn't ask her if she broke it because I'd know she broke it. I'd just tell her it was time for us to clean up the vase, and tell her I was disappointed it was broken and that she needed to be careful in the future. I wouldn't assume she'd done it on purpose. I don't ask kids if they've done something it seems obvious they've done because I feel like it kind of sets them up to lie.

My older dd is so far shockingly truthful. She fesses up to things it didn't even occur to me she might have done. Maybe it's just her personality - she is a constant talker and maybe that makes her tell me everything, but assuming best intentions hasn't turned her into a liar anyway. I'll have to see with the other one. She's a much easier and more laid-back child, but they all have their own personalities and lying is a common enough trait it's possible she could have it.
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#7 of 20 Old 06-19-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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How does your daughter do with 'perform on command' kinds of things in general? I've got one child who will.not.perform.on.command. Ever. He was born like this. He's especially verbally reticent. What worked much better for him was to give him a non-verbal way of making amends. "D got hurt. How can you help her feel better?" He would give someone a hug or bring them an ice pack, even when he would never say 'sorry'. (By the way, he's 10 now and he will say 'sorry' now with relative ease.)

 

I'm wondering if you focus on making amends, rather than saying a single word, if that would help? I can't be sure, but I think for my son saying 'sorry' meant that he had to acknowledge that he'd done wrong or that he was at fault. That was very difficult for him. When he knocked someone over by accident, for example, we'd ask him to say "sorry". His response was always "but it was an accident!" It took a long while before we got through to him that you could be sorry for something even if it was an accident. Saying 'sorry' doesn't mean that you're admitting guilt.

 

I wonder if it has to do with the development of shame -- it's not a very comfortable feeling, and we'll go a long ways to avoid that feeling.  Even if your parents don't shame you, children do develop the concept of shame. It's part of their development of their conscience, which is a good thing. In a child who's not very good at regulating the emotion, running away/refusing to admit to something is probably a coping mechanism. My theory (completely without data) is that focusing on making amends and pointing out things they can to do help the other person (verbal or non-verbal) helps them get the focus off themselves, which is a better coping mechanism than simply denying that anything is wrong.

 

I do think there's a time and a place for learning to use the actual words 'sorry'. There are times in our lives when we simply need to say "I'm sorry" no matter whether it's genuine or not. Thus, now that my kids are older, I do insist on a verbal sorry along with making amends. The making amends shows people that the 'sorry' is genuine. But without the words, some people will never feel apologized to. If your spouse/partner lost their temper with you and bought you flowers later to make amends would that make you feel better? Probably. But would you feel a lot better if s/he also said "sorry" along with those flowers? I suspect so.


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#8 of 20 Old 06-19-2011, 09:19 PM
 
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I don't know if you did this or not, but in that situation when a child hurts another, I always focus first on the child hurt. "Oh no! Are you okay? Let me see... are you hurt anywhere? She hit you in the head with the ball!?  That looked like it really hurt..."  Etc.  I make sure (or try to make sure) that the offending child stays nearby to witness what happens. Then I turn to the aggressor: "Look at her face. Do you see how sad she is?  Can you think of anything you can do to help her feel better?"  Then, regardless of whether the child can think of anything or not, proceed to model it for her.  Help the child up, wipe her tears, say 'I'm sorry', give a hug, or whatever you think is appropriate. 

Later, talk to your child about the different ways she can help someone who is hurt. Also talk about the situation and what happened. Show empathy for your child's feelings, and help her to know other ways to express herself and to get her needs met.  At a time when emotions are not charged, try acting out a similar scenario and different (positive) ways of responding.  I work with young kids all the time and they are very well-behaved and empathetic after a lot of guidance in this way. 

To force a child to apologize solves nothing and doesn't teach them much, in my opinion.  And an insincere apology doesn't feel good to the hurt person - even a very young child can tell the difference between sincere concern and a rote response.

Have you ever read "How to Talk so Kids with Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk"?  It's a great book on how to foster better communication with our kids.

 

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#9 of 20 Old 06-20-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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I am not a fan of forced apologies, even in egregious situations. I would simply tell the other child something like, "I'm sorry [daughter's name] threw the ball at you. She shouldn't have done that." and then just help your child calmly exit from the situation and talk to her one-on-one. In talking with her one-on-one I would say something like, "I was disappointed that you did not apologize and I hope you will have the good graces to do so if something like this happens again." or something like that and then just let it be. Making a big deal out of her refusal to apologize gives her a reward, in a sense, and I wouldn't go there. Just let her know what you expect and you hope she'll do better next time.

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#10 of 20 Old 06-20-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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I don't get the whole forced apologies thing either.  I would have just apologized for her and gone on ("I'm sorry she did that.  It's not ok to hit people.")

 

Forced apologies are about power.  The lessons I want my child to learn in that situation are about appropriate behavior, not power struggles.  I feel strongly that modeling appropriate behavior, toward him and toward others, are what will sink in the most with my kid long-term.

 

One thing I know from watching my son is that apologizing takes a lot of maturity (there are entire court battles fought around one person's refusal to apologize for something) and it's pretty humiliating and embarrassing for a child. 

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#11 of 20 Old 06-20-2011, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

How does your daughter do with 'perform on command' kinds of things in general? I've got one child who will.not.perform.on.command. Ever. He was born like this. He's especially verbally reticent. What worked much better for him was to give him a non-verbal way of making amends. "D got hurt. How can you help her feel better?" He would give someone a hug or bring them an ice pack, even when he would never say 'sorry'. (By the way, he's 10 now and he will say 'sorry' now with relative ease.)

 

I'm wondering if you focus on making amends, rather than saying a single word, if that would help?

 

I wonder if it has to do with the development of shame

 


DD does not really do well with perform on command types of things in front of strangers. She's ok with it if its people she's comfortable around, for instance DH and I or my parents. But in front of ppl that she's not spoken to, its not gonna happen. Which is something I will have to keep in mind for future events, thank you for making this point!

 

I do like the idea to make amends rather than just saying the word. That's something that she'll probably be able to do much more easily.

 

I was wondering the same thing. She was certainly acting in a shameful manner, hiding her face, kicking her feet around, trying to hide behind me before we went inside.

 



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Originally Posted by Anandamama View Post

Have you ever read "How to Talk so Kids with Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk"?  It's a great book on how to foster better communication with our kids.

 



I have read it and DD really didn't respond to any of the techniques. Maybe I'll check it out again and see what similiar titles amazon.com recommends.

 



Quote:
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I think in regard to this specific scenario, maybe you should look back on what exactly you were trying to accomplish by trying to make her apologize.

Was it that you just wanted her to say the words "I'm sorry?" Or were you trying to teach her some empathy for how the other little girl felt by being hit with the ball? Or were you trying to teach her why hitting someone else with an object is wrong? Or were you wanting her to actually BE sorry for hitting her with the ball? 

 

 Maybe she WASN'T sorry she hit her. Maybe she felt the other girl had it coming. Maybe it was just an accident and she felt emabarrased that she hit her in the head. Maybe she was sorry and was just too uncomfortable saying the words right then and there. (I remember being around her age and time and time again my parents trying to force me to say "Yes Ma'am" instead of just "Yes" when I answered someone. Those moments of everyone staring at me, waiting for me to speak those words paralyzed me and I clammed up. Call it stage fright. Call it whatever...but I wasn't just being stubborn. I felt uncomfortable and just wanted people to turn their attention elsewhere.) Maybe she just took issue with you trying to make her apologize and was digging her heels in to exert some power over you. shrug.gif


 



Thanks. :) I was trying to accomplish a genuine apology and feel empathy. Truth be told, if she had apologized, the next step probably would've been "Now say it like you mean it" which as a child I thought was aisinine and frankly I still do. So if it's aisinine, why would I have used it? No idea other than I heard that all the time.

 



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Lying does get you out of trouble much of the time. People lie out of self-preservation. If you are a safe person to be truthful with, your child is far less likely to lie. If Kid breaks a vase and knows from past experience that Parent freaks out, yells, screams, and doles out punishment for accidents, then Kid is probably going to lie. If Kid breaks a vase and Parent expresses disappointment about the broken vase but acknowledges that sh*t-happens-be-more-careful-next-time, Kid is more likely to tell you what really happened. This becomes increasingly important when the issue isn't broken household items, but stuff like sex, drugs, bullying, car accidents, etc.

 


 Thank you for this. It clarified things for me!

 

Thank you all for the advice and insights. You've given me some things to think about and some way to handle it better in the future. I really really appreciate it! smile.gif
 

 


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#12 of 20 Old 06-20-2011, 11:10 AM
 
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You've gotten great wisdom from the PPs.  I wanted to point out one other thing that I didn't notice mentioned: impulse control.  A great rule of thumb that I've heard here on MDC is that a child only has about 10% impulse control per year of age.  So your five-year-old DD can reasonably be expected to control her body only about half the time.  I think this is important to keep in mind when you're looking at her intent.  Kids generally WANT to do the right thing, and want to control their bodies and make their bodies do the right thing--but sometimes they really physically can't do it.  DD is holding a ball, she looks at B, throwing the ball pops into her head, and before she can stop herself and think things through, the ball is already out of her hands.  The same goes for a broken vase even if you watch the kid pick it up and spike it on the floor.  They talk and walk and SEEM so grown-up at this age, that it's easy to think of them as mostly grown-up, when they're really still mostly babies.  Your DD is much closer to age 1 than age 18.  Realizing this has really helped me hold it together when my 4-yr-old DD gets out of control.  I now see that that's exactly what it is--she doesn't have control.  That's not her fault.  It just means I have to keep teaching her how to get control of her body, and, mostly, waiting for her to mature.

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If she truly thought it was an accident, and kids have many reasons to believe something deliberate was an accident, then she may not be apologizing because she thinks the apology is a punishment and she felt it was very unfair since it was an accident.  I know that may seem strange, but apologies are used as punishment and a lot of kids refuse to apologize when they see it as an unwarranted punishment.  I suggest focusing on trying to find ways to help her empathize with other people and helping her view apologies as authentic expressions instead of something you say because you are in trouble.

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#14 of 20 Old 06-20-2011, 03:45 PM
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If she truly thought it was an accident, and kids have many reasons to believe something deliberate was an accident, then she may not be apologizing because she thinks the apology is a punishment and she felt it was very unfair since it was an accident.  I know that may seem strange, but apologies are used as punishment and a lot of kids refuse to apologize when they see it as an unwarranted punishment.  I suggest focusing on trying to find ways to help her empathize with other people and helping her view apologies as authentic expressions instead of something you say because you are in trouble.


 

Yup. I think people would do best to remember that the purpose of an apology is to make the victim feel better.

 

Scolding and intimidating a child into apologizing does nothing to make the victim feel better.

 

 

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#15 of 20 Old 06-20-2011, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You've gotten great wisdom from the PPs.  I wanted to point out one other thing that I didn't notice mentioned: impulse control.  A great rule of thumb that I've heard here on MDC is that a child only has about 10% impulse control per year of age.  So your five-year-old DD can reasonably be expected to control her body only about half the time.  I think this is important to keep in mind when you're looking at her intent.  Kids generally WANT to do the right thing, and want to control their bodies and make their bodies do the right thing--but sometimes they really physically can't do it.  DD is holding a ball, she looks at B, throwing the ball pops into her head, and before she can stop herself and think things through, the ball is already out of her hands.  The same goes for a broken vase even if you watch the kid pick it up and spike it on the floor.  They talk and walk and SEEM so grown-up at this age, that it's easy to think of them as mostly grown-up, when they're really still mostly babies.  Your DD is much closer to age 1 than age 18.  Realizing this has really helped me hold it together when my 4-yr-old DD gets out of control.  I now see that that's exactly what it is--she doesn't have control.  That's not her fault.  It just means I have to keep teaching her how to get control of her body, and, mostly, waiting for her to mature.


I was just discussing this today with my father. She seems so much older than she is sometimes. She can talk well and act so mature in some situations that its easy to forget that she's still so young and learning so much that I already know. I have to remember sometimes in the heat of the moment that she is only five and she is acting her normal age and its my job to help her grow, not to punish for being five. Now that's easy for me to say right now when I'm calm, the trick is forcing myself to remember it when I'm not. When she was two I clearly remember losing my patience with her and saying something along the lines of "How old are you? TWO?!" and then realizing she was, indeed, only two. I think I need to apply that story to her being merely five now since I remembered that for a long time and it did help me keep perspective.
 

 


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#16 of 20 Old 06-20-2011, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yup. I think people would do best to remember that the purpose of an apology is to make the victim feel better.

 

Scolding and intimidating a child into apologizing does nothing to make the victim feel better.

 

 


This is a very good point. I'm very sure B felt quite uncomfortable with what was going on (and just to be clear, B is an adult-she's basically a toy as she'll literally have random strange children come up to her and try to play-but she is an adult), I know I would have. I have apologized to her both for the ball incident and what followed.
 

 


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#17 of 20 Old 06-20-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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What kind of things do you need her to tell you? If it's "why did you do X?" I don't think kids know how to put into words why they did something, and on top of that, is it really important for you to know that?, or is it more sort of just a reflexive question.

 

Like another of the PPs, my son (age 8) doesn't get defensive or lie because I don't put him on the spot like that. Asking a kid "Did you break that??" is just asking for trouble. You can see why the child would react negatively when put in that position.

 

Taken another way, let me just say that my own son routinely tells us about things he's done wrong (which we knew nothing about) because he knows he has nothing to fear. He really WANTS to do the right thing and please us, which I believe all kids really do. Which is why he confesses things. At which point, since there is no fear or reason to hide that he did X, we can get down to the real important stuff, like talking about it, and how he could possibly do better next time, what different/better behavior we expect of him....or (on the positive side), how pleased we are that he came to us with it, and that he handled it well....stuff like that. I *WANT* that door to talking to me to be wide open when he gets to the adolescent years!

 

I got a real adversarial "read" off of your other post. (This one: "Just curious, how do you know when its best to assume a kid had the best possible intentions? I understand what you are saying and why but how can you be sure the kid isn't just lying and constantly getting away with lies? ")  Why would you assume that a kid is like that? What is your opinion of children in general? Have you thought about why you might feel the way you do? To answer your question about knowing when to assume the best intentions....how about 'always'? Why wouldn't you? Unless your child had a track record of lying, in which case it would seem that the two of you would benefit from working to rebuild a trusting relationship.

 

I generally believe that the more punishments that await a child, the more defensive they feel in conversations with parents, the more likely they would be to lie out of self-preservation. I choose not to put my kid in that position.

 

We're pretty non-coercive around here, but I AM very clear what I want him to do. And that is how I state it. "I want you to go to bed. You are rubbing your eyes, you clearly need the sleep." "Mama, you realize that I'm not going to bed." "Yes I know, but that is what I WANT you to do."  He doesn't always do it. (Sometimes I have to lean on him a little, like "I'm not going to take you to the play date tomorrow if you are up late & are sleepy and cranky.) But just last night we had a conversation very similar to that where he did do as I wanted. He brought a handful of toys up from the basement, into his room, just 5 minutes before he was due for "lights out." When I questioned the wisdom of that, he said, "I decided I'm not going to go to bed on time, Mama." I said "Well, you will not get smileys on your chart. In fact you will get frownies. But it's up to you." (We have a chart and for every night he goes to bed on time he gets a smiley face. There's no bribery involved; he just likes to see how many smileys he can rack up; he is very proud to see a chart full of smilies! Go figure.)  Well 30 seconds after that he re-emerged with the same handful of toys, and headed back down to return them to the basement. "On second thought I AM going to bed on time; I want all the smilies I can get." All without any conflict! I think the key there was I have learned to keep my "parental pride" in check. When I tell him I want him to do something, and he says he's not going to (and we don't generally make him do things under threat), it is REALLY hard because the "hey-because-I-SAID-so" voice in my head is real loud. Old habits die hard. But if I just wait a second, the feeling passes and I realize that this is for the best.

 

Lest you think I never tell him he HAS to do anything, that is not the case. We are not radical unschoolers. But I save my have-to's for when it's really important. The rest of the time I used want-to's, and it really helps me save face. Because seriously, when you give a blatant order, and the child says no, then you're obliged to escalate. I don't want to live in that battlezone. I pick the battles very carefully.  :-)

 

And if my son hurt another child, I would still not force an apology. I would apologize to and demonstrate my concern to the victim (thus modeling the desired behavior), and I would say to my son, off to the side, "You have hurt him. Look at how he is crying. Please make it right." Usually my son will go over and hug the child and say "sorry" but I steer clear from telling him what feelings he needs to profess. It might sound like splitting hairs but that's how I feel.

 

Hope that helps.

 

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Also, I'd say its pretty obvious we don't communicate well. I can't get the girl to tell me anything.



 

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#18 of 20 Old 06-21-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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Nothing to add other than - 3xmama, you have taken the thoughts and advice on this thread so graciously.  Your DC is lucky to have such a thoughtful mama who is open to improving on what many parents would consider a "small thing".  It's nice to see.  :-)  


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#19 of 20 Old 06-22-2011, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nothing to add other than - 3xmama, you have taken the thoughts and advice on this thread so graciously.  Your DC is lucky to have such a thoughtful mama who is open to improving on what many parents would consider a "small thing".  It's nice to see.  :-)  



 Thank you! :)


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#20 of 20 Old 06-22-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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I will second what another PP said about apologizing on her behalf, to show her and the injured party that you respond to others' injury with caring--and completely remove the focus from your child to the victim instead.  After suggesting the apology to dd briefly, go ahead and make a substitute apology immediately to keep things on track.  We also used nonverbal apologies in combination.  So maybe I would make a verbal apology focused on how that person feels, while the child would give a hug or offer to share a plaything or something.


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