July 24, 2021

No More Buts

[jessica] There are 2 concepts I am constantly trying to get my children to grasp. The first is that no one can make you do something.

Meaning if you do something wrong, and then try to say you only did it because of what was done to you, that won’t get you out of trouble.

The second thing is giving a sincere apology that is not full of excuses. For example “I am sorry I pulled your hair but you were annoying me” is not a genuine apology accepting full responsibility for your actions.

My children, especially the older 2, are always trying to convince me that their poor choices were based on some horrific thing that was done to them by another person.

My daughter Lana has made her brothers bleed on more than one occasion, and seriously thought she would not get in trouble for it simply because they irritated her to the point of getting physical.

My children know that there is never a reason to hit, but they still feel they deserve some sort of mercy because an injustice was done to them first.

Lana hit my oldest son Wyatt with a wand so hard it gave him a black eye and broke the skin! She tried to convince me for 10 minutes that she shouldn’t get her wand taken away because he was bothering her and threatened to mess up her room!

Even once I got her to admit that was not a reason to hit, she then went on to negotiate a weaker sentence since she never intended to make him actually bleed.

Needless to say the wand was taken away with the promise it would be returned when her brother had physically and emotionally healed from being beaten by a pink unicorn wand!

Now when it comes to apologies I will make my children, even the 3-year-old, apologize over and over until they simply look the person in the eye and give a heartfelt apology.

They always want to add the offense done to them, which made them do whatever they are apologizing for.

I require them to apologize in a calm, loving voice “I am sorry I (insert their crime), would you please forgive me?” Sometimes this question is answered with a no because we all are aware of how honest children can be!

I even appreciate that honesty somewhat, because I know there are times when I really want to tell someone I do not accept his or her apology.

Of course I understand forgiveness, which I have to explain to my children in those circumstances when an apology is being refused.

Once we hit on the fact that none of us is perfect, we all have to say we are sorry sometimes, and we wouldn’t want our apologies turned down, they generally accept the apology.

That’s not to say we won’t have to “lather, rinse, repeat” 20 more times that day, possibly with the same child on the same issue.

I have really tried to make sure I myself am following these 2 concepts because they are so important to me.

They seem particularly hard for my children right now, maybe it’s because they are so young.

I mean I know I have no problem admitting I was wrong to yell at my husband, even though I wouldn’t have had to yell at him if he had remembered to get the milk on his way home!

I always totally look him in the eye and tell him “I am sorry I yelled at you but you are so forgetful!”

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