They need to learn how to make relationships right again. I have done another brief post about apologies, but I feel like a follow-up is needed. I also did a post about being willing to model apologies with your children. That is essential in teaching. Our earthly relationships with our kids, friends, spouse and family are supposed to model the gospel message of reconciliation, grace, change and forgiveness. Therefore, teaching these concepts to our kids is crucial.
We have had some real issues with one of our children lately. This child has shown some real defiance and demonstrated a lack of self control in areas. We are in some intense time of training through it right now, and as we find successes I’ll be sharing more. This child has had a need to apologize a lot lately, which is why I write this post today.
Like I said, we are in an intense time of training. There are some times in my parenting where I can’t seem to think clear enough to come up with my own solutions. It is those times I turn to friends and trusted parents for advice. Part of me seeking out counsel of others was a stimulus for writing my blog. I am surrounded by good examples and people I can ask for advice. I have often considered, “What would I do if I didn’t have that?” I seriously would feel so lost in the journey. As I have been given tools, I have wanted to equip others to be more effective in their parenting. It’s a journey, and I am learning. When I do learn, I want to pass it on to you.
Teaching Kids to say, “I’m Sorry”
So, as we are dealing with the heart issues I see in in my child, I reached out the Pritchard’s for some advice. I talked through a particular incidence I had experienced recently. Then, I explained how I handled the situation. One of the take-aways from that conversation is that I never had my child make it right with me. I gave a consequence, but when that was done, I rubbed her back and talked to her about my concerns. We then went downstairs and got on with life. What Kelli reminded me of was that we never made our relationship right again. I approached her. I rubbed her back and talked. She never said she was sorry. I wasn’t taking the time to teach her this important life skill. I was advised to let her know her consequence was over and then be done with it. Eventually, Abby is going to want something from me. She may ask me for a snack, a game, or a certain positive interaction. At this point I can remind Abby, “You know, I would really like to help you, but I don’t think our relationship has been set right yet. You weren’t treating me with respect, and you haven’t apologized yet. I think we need some reconciliation.” Let her then set it right if that is her heart attitude.
The other day, my child was brought home from school by a friend of mine. My friend was rewarded by my child trying to take something from her son, running down our walk away from her, turning and making a face while slamming the door behind her and dead bolting it. Fun times. So humbling. So, after Abby’s consequence, it was time to make it right. I had her call up my friend on the phone and apologize. A similar incident happened with this child not showing self control a couple weeks earlier. I hadn’t talked to Kelli about apologies yet, so the apology to my friend never happened…at least not from my child. I was apologizing profusely. I am glad to have friends who love my kids well. When my child apologized this time it was met with grace-filled love. These responses from the people in her life will hopefully draw her into the loving arms of a grace-filled Savior.
I have always been decent at having the kids set things right with each other. I also have done an OK job after consequences with my younger kids. I am realizing that as the consequences become more drawn out and involved, I haven’t taken the time in the end to make the relationship whole again. Time for a change there.
I hope you will join me in re-enacting the gospel message of reconciliation as you raise up your kids as well.