Of course I do say sorry to our children often, such as when they have hurt themselves, or when I forget to get them something I promised. There are many opportunities to show them that I care. But it has not always been easy, when I need to say sorry because I have wronged them. That has been a hard bullet to bite. But I did realise the importance of showing our girls an example I would like them to follow.
It began with the homework. Our older girl has always been good with class. She loves to study, read, draw, paint and everything else she is taught in class. We even complete the holiday homework in the first week of the holidays. But at the start of this term, she was not doing as well. She would get home, do just one or two numbers and go off to play or sleep, leaving me to drag her back to complete it.
When it happened consistently, I got mad and went into discipline mode, refusing her this or that before she completed her work. It did not work very well and one day I even spanked her. Coincidentally (or maybe not), one of her teachers called to say he was experiencing the same in class with her and that we should find a way to help her. I decided I would deal with it after I had spoken with hubby and figured out a way forward. Luckily, I got the answers much earlier than I had hoped. As I did my Bible Study Fellowship (a Bible study I attend) lessons later in the day, I read a portion that talked about what to do when your child does wrong.
“When your little one does wrong, do you find out what could have caused her to do that? Do you seek the background or context to the problem (was she bullied or coerced by someone into doing something)? Does she know in the first place whether it is wrong or not to do what she did? Do you tell her why you are disciplining her? Do you offer her compassion after the discipline to let her know you care about her wellbeing generally?” Let’s just say I was not doing well on many fronts.
So that evening, I went back and had a friendly conversation with her about her work. I discovered that one of the reasons she was not doing well was because a friend at school did not like to do work and so my daughter thought it was cool to do the same. I also heard that she wanted a little more time to “rest” in the evening before starting on work, and, she preferred to do it when I was around because she got to ask me to help with the difficult questions rather than studying alone. We came up with some solutions, which included discussing questions on the phone if I was still away from home. The results are now much better and we are not arguing over homework.
The biggest thing for me though was when I apologised to her. I told her I was sorry I had been harsh and not first asked questions or found out why she was not doing work as well. I told her next time she felt I was being too tough, to let me know if we could talk, before I dished out discipline. She was pleased and promised to do so. She gave me a big hug and proceeded to “confess” some of the sins she had committed. We laughed about it but agreed to do the right thing by each other. That day I learnt that our children deserve compassion, humility and forgiveness from us. After all, if they do not see us express these, who will teach them to do that?
SOURCE: Daily Monitor