Friday, May 1, 2009

Sorry

When my children do or say something mean or hurtful or thoughtless, I make them apologize. Then I make them apologize, again; "This time say it like you mean it." They then apologize correctly. Am I going about this the wrong way? I'd like to think that when I instruct them to "try again" it gives them a moment to step back and think about the misdemeanor. However, are they just saying the words they know will get me off their back?
Finding the line between being a parent and infringing on their agency is hazy. My children know they have to put their clothes in their drawers after I have folded them. If I go in their room and see the neatly folded piles on the bed or, *gasp*, on the floor, do I instruct them to do it right or allow them to leave the clothes on the floor to become rumpled and dirty then let them live with the consequence? Is this an age/maturity issue?
When do I stop requiring my children to write "Thank You" notes and hope they feel enough gratitude to write them on their own?

When do I let go of their hands and let them skate solo? What if neither of us know whether they can skate without falling down?


Ohhh, this job is tricky.

4 comments:

  1. amen...I don't know the balance either...and so when I am feeling like a tyrant, I simply explain to my kids, "I know I sound like a tyrant, but my motives are good I promise"

    Kenzie has been potty trained since 2 1/2 but she can't wipe her bum...if she does wipe it herself, it gets all red...horrible rash- My mom would say, "just let her keep getting red and uncomfortable and she will eventually learn how to do it right" "really Mom?" I am kind of a softy, yet in the back of my mind I can see how she is right a little, but really?

    I remember my family teacher in college teaching me that it is healthier for a mom to admit her faults and apologize than a mom who never acts like it is her fault- hence I have been to "time out" myself when I have acted up.

    The whole agency/teach responsibility thing is always on my mind...how much do we love and cuddle and how much do we carry through tough love????

    and then...of course no matter what, kids always end up pretty good...anyway...so maybe we should just relax.

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  2. This job IS tricky! You are a good, level headed mother. They have a great example on how to show gratitude, on how to say sorry, on how to serve. They SEE you live it and that is far better than hearing you say it. They are blessed to have you as a mother.

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  3. Keep teaching and keep teaching...even good skaters can take a serious tumble, so mama, be close at hand. You will see that they do these good things on their own more and more without prompts, but they will need that hand to hold sometimes.
    The song says, "Lead me" and then "Guide me" and THEN "Walk beside me" -- Keep teaching... use different tactics, but keep teaching.

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  4. great post. it is so hard to find the balance/line. love the photos to go with it. :)

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