The other day I asked my son to say sorry to my partner. My son had had a bit of a temper outburst, and he’d yelled. One of the rules in the house is no shouting and yelling, and this broke the rules. Hence my request.
To give my son his due, he did calm down, and came to say sorry, and he was clearly sorry, and mortified at having to say sorry, but he understood why.
I was a really proud Mum. It takes real guts to say sorry, thus proving somehow (or feeling somehow) that you have done wrong, and now need to make amends. Too few people say it cos then it means you didn’t ‘win’, – and too few parents expect kids to say it, I think!
I know I find it hard to say sorry, I know it doesn’t feel good when I have to say it because the shame inside me tells me I must have done something terrible to get to the ‘I’m sorry’ stage. The worst is when you have to say you’re sorry, but you still don’t feel like you did anything wrong, and I think a lot of kids often feel that way.
I think that might be because parents don’t explain things clearly enough. You need to explain to them that the hissy fit they had doesn’t not allow them to be rude, obnoxious, loud or otherwise towards an adult, even if they feel angry and hard done by. This will teach them restraint – which is a valuable resource when an adult and in a tricky situation.
By explaining that to them, it allows them to understand that there are other people in this world (other than them) that also count and deserve respect. Also, that bad behaviour is not condoned in the house, which will hopefully mean it won’t be condoned outside the house etc.
I am of the opinion that adults should make the rules, and that kids should abide by them. Yes, in some cases you can discuss and concurr on rules, and even make them up together, but general, normal common sense rules should be laid out and abided by in any case.
I think democracy is fine if their are 2 of you in a relationship, but when the numbers increase, and the ages and genders differ, then the adults run the house, and the kids abide by them.
You always used to hear the Dad’s saying in the movies ” Not while you live under MY roof you don’t, when you have your own house and you pay for it, THEN you can do it.” I always used to think that was totally unfair. Now that I am the one paying for things and looking after the house, and cleaning it, and hoovering, and washing etc, it suddenly makes total sense. Yes, you can have a carefree childhood – all good and well, but if I or the adults of the house are doing all the work here (and packing a dishwasher now and then does not constitute ‘work’), then they are the one that’s allowed to make the rules.
When you have your house and can pay for it all, then YOU make up the rules and live under them. Go ahead – kick the balls inside the house, leave the dishes everywhere and don’t bath for a week. No problem – I don’t have to LIVE with it!!
Too harsh? Perhaps, but while under my roof…… 😉