Discipline Blunders

I made a mistake this morning.  I’ve got a parenting problem.  When should I teach Sophia to apologize and how should I do it?

Here’s what happened.  Sophia had been attacking Abby all morning, ripping toys out of her hands.  I’m not sure that she new what she was doing other than, “That’s mine. I want it. I will take it.” After the 4th or 5th time, she wounded Abby in the process–hit her in the mouth.  Of course, Abby cried.  I think that might have been punishment enough…  But, I thought that Sophia should apologize.  About 30 minutes later, I realized that she’s not quite emotionally ready for this expectation.  Or is it that I went about it all wrong?

Here’s what went down.  After I told her to say, “Sorry, Abby,” she cried and said, “Mommy happy!” Again I asked for her to say “Sorry, Abby.” She cried and asked for her stuffed dog, Cowboy.  I told her that she could have it after she said, “Sorry, Abby.”

Woops.

I said something that I then needed to follow through on.

Woops.

I didn’t think that through.  She got so emotionally devastated about her “Cowboy” that she wasn’t capable of saying anything, let alone, “Sorry, Abby.” And, eventually I realized that I had parented in a way that I never want to parent–forcing an apology by keeping away her comfort toy.  Ultimate shaming.  What had I done?  But, then I was in a situation.  I needed to follow through… I have to follow through… Thirty minutes later and the help of Daddy, she got Cowboy back and we’re trying to not remember the whole event.  How did this happen that I had absolutely no idea what to do?

The thing is, I know she’s capable of saying the words, “I’m sorry.” She says it when she accidentally bumps into  you. I realize, though, that she doesn’t know what the words mean, only that that’s what you say when you run into someone.  How do I teach that that’s what we say when we hurt our loved ones?  Ah!  Discipline sucks.

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One Response

  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself… I can’t completely understand your position since I don’t have kids yet, but at school, we talk about intrinsic motivation all the time. Yes, ultimately with ideal conditions, kids would excel without grades and tardy systems and threats/consequences. But as one of my fav co-workers says, we don’t live in the land of rainbows and fairy dust! You aren’t a bad mom for taking away Cowboy temporarily. That might be the only way she understands for now. You are right about one thing, though; however you handle things, the follow through is the most important part. You are a great mommy!

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