One of my sweetest parenting experiences was a one-time unique participation in my teenage daughter’s clique. We mothers of this group of adolescent girlfriends planned a surprise dinner out for our girls at a restaurant where we ate and celebrated our daughters. After dessert, we presented them with blue T-shirts that read, “I Survived Dinner With My Mother.” On that special night, it was fun to again feel like part of a clique, and it brought back sweet memories of belonging to a special group of friends ‘in my day.’
At first blush, teaching kids to apologize seems simple. You instruct them to say sorry to whomever they wronged and you move on. But did your child only say sorry to appease you? Does your child really understand what they did wrong? Teaching kids to apologize with sincerity helps them learn lessons in empathy, nurturing and forgiveness. And given the messiness of life, those moments requiring apologies tend to be plentiful for practice.
The summer is an easy-going slice of life with less pressure and fewer responsibilities--it is simple to have a sunny outlook. However, even during the summer, many kids become frustrated and angry when things don’t go exactly as hoped-a rainy day causes an outdoor activity to be canceled, or a friend’s decision to attend sleep-away camp thwarts carefully crafted plans to spend the summer together. “The summer is ruined”, a child will lament, as she struggles to cope with the disappointment of that moment. Then, as summer wears on, these feelings may become amplified as she worries about whether she will get the teacher she wants, or discover that all her friends are ‘in the other class.’ “I will have the worst year ever if...,” she proclaims, unable to see beyond the perceived crisis.
Driving home, you ask your kids what happened at school today. Your son mumbles, “Nothing,” in his casual, I-dare-you-to-ask-for-more-information kind of way. Before you can follow up, your daughter chimes in, “I hate Maddie. She told Sarah she thinks my hair is ugly, and now Sarah won’t let me sit with them at lunch. They’re not my friends anymore. I hate them both.”
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