I’m Not Sorry


R: I didn’t get to go outside with my preschool today.
Me: Because it was too cold?
R: No. Everyone went outside, but not me. I had to stay inside with my teacher.
Me: Because you woke up late from your nap?
R: NO! Because I had to have a special time because I threw something.
Me: Oh. What did you throw?
R: I didn’t THROW ANYTHING! I kicked something!
Me: What did you kick?
R: My friend! My new friend.
Me: Was your friend okay?
R: My friend cried and was sad. So I had to have time with my teacher and couldn’t go outside. Then I went outside and fell down and cried so much but I’m okay and my teacher picked me up and made me feel so much better.

Oh excellent. This is one of the best parts about being a parent: hearing your kid tell you they hurt someone else and they don’t care about it at all. She kicks. She hits. She takes toys away. She bites us. Mostly me for some reason. It’s awesome.

And yet, we don’t make her say she’s sorry. Because sometimes she’s not. Sometimes she’s just three.

Will having her say something she doesn’t mean change the fact that she hurt someone? It won’t. Will it make the other person feel better? No.

Parents do this a lot. We force our kids to say sorry, putting our kids right back into the situation that frustrated them enough to cause them to inflict bodily harm in the first place. When Roozle does this, I remove her. We get out. Encouraging her to go back to the now crying other party to say something she doesn’t mean is not going to end well and I don’t want anything to do with it.

I don’t want you to force your kid to say sorry to my kid either, while we’re on the topic. If your kid just hit mine, please go away. It’s better for all of us. And I say this fully aware that my kid is very often the guilty party.

Instead of empty apologies, we wait.

When all the dust and wood chips (and omg hopefully not blood) has settled, we talk about what happened. We ask Roozle what she could do for the friend that she has hurt that could make them feel better. She knows that hugs and kisses often make her moms feel better, so if she has hurt us, she usually goes with that. But for friends, she often suggests drawing them a picture or playing nicely with the friend the next day. Or even an apology if she thinks that’s a good choice. But other than suggestions from us, we try to stay out of it.

What do you do? Do you encourage immediate apologies?

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Author: Casey

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