Thursday, February 3, 2011


When your child makes a mistake, is he/she sad because of the choice made or the consequence given? 
My four year old most of the time seems saddest by the consequence, and this really bothers me.  I was a very sensitive natured child.  I had lots of empathy and compassion for others.  My child has a personality quite different than mine was...she has strong opinions, is a leader, and is big plotter of her grand ideas.  :)  While she has a big heart, I feel like her regret after making a wrong choice is more for the consequence than the behavior, and I'm at a loss for how to stop this!
I think there has to be consequences for bad behavior, however when it becomes all about the consequences (or rewards), we have problems.
Tonight my darling girl said something quite rude to me.  I told her it hurt my feelings.  She said she was sorry but didn't seem bothered by it.  Now since we have been working on this, I decided to take it a little further...I asked how she would feel if I said that to her.  She explained I would NEVER say that to her and it was against the rules cause I am the mommy.  I went on and told her it was against our family rules too.  I went the route of "Do you think God would be pleased with the words you said to me? Was that honoring your mom?"  She said no.  None of this really got to her, so finally I said, "Honey, I know that you are sorry, but sometimes we can't take back hurtful words.  That really hurt me and I don't really like to be around someone who hurts my feelings.  So I think tonight you need to read to yourself instead of me reading, and I want you to think about your words carefully."  Then the world was over and her heart was breaking.  "MOMMY I am SO sorry!"
Perhaps this route was a little harsh, but I feel that we are at a real breaking point here of needing more compassion and empathy.  I didn't read to her and she was a sad little girl.  She wrote in her journal that she did not mean what she said and that she was sorry she said that to her mommy because she loves me.  I feel like that was true remorse, but not sure if it happened because of the consequence or true regret.  In any case, I think it was a step in the right direction.  And don't worry, I reassured her that I forgive her and that I love her, but also told her again that our words can really hurt people.  And that though we can be sorry and be forgiven, we can't take back those words.
What about you?  How do you encourage true remorse in your child?

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