I rarely do guest posts but this one by Anya Willis from https://fitkids.info is important as the world situation is continuing to be so stressful. Children must have self-care coping skills. Enjoy this new blog post!
Self-care is an important part of your overall well-being. Learning to prioritize your mental health can start at an early age. Consider these six ways you can teach your children to practice self-care.
1. Give Them a Peaceful Space at Home
A stress-free home environment helps children feel safe and comfortable. You can create peace in the home in multiple ways. For example, disciplining with a gentle approach allows your children to learn respect without fear. How you plan your home aesthetic can also affect stress levels. For example, decluttering and having plenty of natural light help relieve anxiety. Bring in houseplants to purify the air and use oil diffusers to create a relaxing aroma. A zen home helps kids focus and relax.
2. Prioritize Quality Time
Prioritizing quality time lets your kids know how important they are to you. That translates into feeling important themselves. Quality time doesn’t have to include an elaborate plan. It can be as simple as making a nighttime routine or letting them help you with the chores around the house. Having a normal routine quality time takes the pressure off you to overcompensate. Research shows that kids who spend quality time with their parents have fewer behavioral issues and better mental and physical health overall.
3. Keep an Open Dialogue About Mental Health
Make discussing mental health a priority in your household. If you notice your kids feeling stressed or anxious, talk to them about getting help. You can access therapy virtually to provide a secure, private experience for your children, and it requires less commitment than going in person. Also, you have more professionals to choose from online, and it’s often more affordable. You can typically even schedule a free consultation with multiple therapists to ensure you are a good fit with the one you choose.
4. Teach Them To Enjoy Alone Time
Learning to spend time alone is an important part of building confidence. Allow your children some privacy in the home. Knock on their bedroom door before you come in and respect their response. If they feel in control of their alone time, they’ll learn to enjoy it more.
5. Nurture Their Interests
When your child expresses a new interest, encourage them to explore it further. For example, if they love painting or drawing, take them shopping for supplies and display their artwork around the house. Hobbies are a great way to practice self-care, and it’s a very personal experience. You may not always love the things they do. For example, collecting bugs may give you the creeps, but if your child loves it, let them know you’re happy for them.
6. Remind Them To Be Grateful
Show your kids how to be grateful by example. If you practice thankfulness in your daily life, your children will pick up on that as well. The best time to be grateful is when things don’t go to plan. It’s easy to shift to the negative when things don’t go your way, but if you show your children a positive attitude, you can affect how they approach life.
When you keep the lines of communication open with your children, you give them a way to express themselves and talk about how they feel. When you validate their feelings, they learn confidence at an early age. The more confidence they have, the more likely they are to prioritize self-care.
I believe that the answer to this question is a whole-hearted yes! As I write this blog post, I am sickened by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Just a few years ago I would have celebrated it, but watching the world situation the last few years, and opening up to the other side of abortion has changed my beliefs about this. Plus, Covid has shown me that the very people who are supposed to be pro-life aren’t at all. They won’t do anything to protect themselves and others from this serious virus that is causing harm and death to millions of people around the world daily.
According to this article, somehow the Supreme Court used this case to overturn Roe v. Wade. “The court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization upheld a law from Mississippi that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, roughly two months earlier than what has been allowed under Supreme Court precedent dating back to Roe.
In siding with Mississippi, the court’s conservative majority said the Roe decision was egregiously wrong in recognizing a constitutional right to an abortion, an error the court perpetuated in the decades since.”
To be honest, I truly don’t understand how they went from an appropriate limit on abortion to completely overturning the whole law. I personally believe in limiting the abortion to 12 weeks gestation unless it’s a medical emergency.
I hate abortion! However, watching how the world is so inconsiderate of other people, and how a former president who is horribly narcissistic even tried to overthrow the election, I see now that the “pro-life movement” is truly just pro-birth. They don’t want to do anything to help women, men, and babies.
Here are some of my own definitions regarding abortion and pro-life. Again, these are based off my own observations and opinions.
Pro-birth: Just getting the baby born without doing much to support families and teenagers during and after the pregnancy. Going through the states on this website, it seems like the states that are outright banning abortion only allow it for a medical reason. And some of them are trying to do away with the Plan B pill.
“What does Plan B exactly do?
Plan B One-Step is a type of morning-after pill that can be used after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Plan B One-Step contains the hormone levonorgestrel — a progestin — which can prevent ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
Some states are limiting access to emergency contraceptives such as Plan B because they equate it with the abortion pill, but this isn’t the abortion pill, and it’s outright dangerous for rape/incest victims, people who don’t have the ability to care for the baby for any reason, and people with disabilities who are seven times more likely to be raped and/or sexually assaulted! They are not capable of handling pregnancy and the emotional trauma of having the baby taken away is tremendous.
Thankfully, in the midst of getting this post edited, President Biden signed an executive order to protect emergency contraceptives, abortions that are to save the life of the person who is pregnant if the child can’t also be saved, and beef up the Obamacare mandates of providing contraceptives. See this article as well as this one for more info about these protections.
I also worry about forced sterilization for people with disabilities and other people who are “different” because some of these pro-birth people are also White Supremacists that might try to limit who should be allowed to have children.
Pro-life aims to protect the life from conception to natural death. It recognizes that there are times when abortion is necessary for the woman who has a medical issue, the baby is dying, rape, incest, and people who are unable to carry the baby. It’s being willing to choose as much life as possible without having to deny that the baby is a baby.
Pro-life: Being willing to help stop an abortion through providing free support, birth control, health care, family health care, family leave longer than 6 weeks, free lactation consultants, help for child care, high quality child care, more sick days, access to healthy food for the entire family, classes on child care, and mental health care.
Some of these people call themselves pro-choice. I don’t have a problem with that as long as they truly believe in giving people the information they need to make the appropriate decision for the women and family. Many of these people want limitations on abortion and don’t believe it should be done after the first trimester unless it’s a medical emergency and the doctors try to save both the woman and the baby.
Abortion is a hard word because sometimes the baby is so wanted but he/she is found to have a condition that is slowly killing him/her and hurting him/her. In these cases, if these babies are viable, they simply have the woman deliver the child and hold the baby as he/she naturally passes away. This should never be prohibited! Unfortunately, this type of humane treatment is also called “abortion.”
On the opposite side, to abort a baby just because he/she has a certain condition that is livable is totally wrong! We deserve to live.
Pro-abortion: Not always wanting limitations on abortion. Not always wanting to make sure that the people are informed about what they are about to do. Also, some of these people are fine with partial birth abortion. Partial birth abortion is sick and murder!! There’s absolutely no reason to have a partial birth abortion. No!
I’m pro-life. I want children to live in a world that protects them long after birth. I’m sorry that there are times abortion is necessary, but it is. I would love to see it become more humane and respectful if the baby is removed from the womb closer to the 12-week-mark of pregnancy.
I’m very concerned about a number of topics that I have already covered. I think that this is a horrible precedent to set. And the fact that these judges lied under oath in order to get a position on the Supreme Court is a travesty!! So does that mean judges are free to lie under oath without any consequences? What does this mean for the justice system? It is already messed up with racism and other corruption, so now it may become even more corrupt.
Along with the majority of Americans, I am worried about the rights of the LBGTQ community that is already under fire. Please see my previous blog post about this. I’m worried about the rights of Black people, various other minority groups, disability rights, and the falling of our nation because of people who are narcissistic, right-wing extremists that want to stop progress and go backwards.
Yes, this is a truly scary time for the country!
Talking to young children about this
Finally, I would like to share a few tips for talking to young children about this.
Explain to the children that a woman has the ability to grow and deliver a baby. It is a wonderful thing!
However, sometimes the woman can’t keep growing the baby and that is sad.
When a woman is unable to grow the baby, the baby is removed from her body by a doctor and it’s traumatic, but necessary for her well-being.
The baby goes to Heaven (or the version that is appropriate for whatever spiritual beliefs that the family has).
The government is trying to take this away which will really hurt women and their families.
We want to protect this and protect babies from suffering.
This is a very complicated subject and emotional. I wish people could come together and set appropriate limits on abortion and prevent unwanted pregnancy from happening. Reversing Roe v. Wade isn’t a win for anyone. More will die because of this and that is NOT pro-life!!!!
With the current laws being enacted in Florida and Texas as well as other conservative states to stop the LBGTQ+ community from being able to live their lives, it got me thinking about how I used to believe some of the same things until I started really listening to these people. I have many friends in this community now and I am heartbroken over how they are treated.
Many LBGTQ+ children are kicked out of the house when they come out to their parents. Some are subjected to horrible “conversion therapy” to try to “convince” them that they are not gay or transgender. These children are very likely to be abused and murdered by their family or people in the community who don’t want to understand that they are people too.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people are over-represented in foster care, where they are more likely to experience discrimination, abuse, neglect and the risk of harm. A 2019 study found 30.4 percent of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ and 5 percent as transgender, compared to 11.2 percent and 1.17 percent of youth not in foster care.”
In Texas, a law was recently passed making it “child abuse” for parents to give their transgendered children care that would allow them to have the body that their brain is telling them they are. As of now, a judge has partially blocked the law. I believe that the exact opposite is true. It is abusive NOT to allow these children to have the gender affirming medical care they require. They are at a high risk of suicide for not being allowed to have transitional gender affirming medical care and psychotherapy.
People like to shrug off the suicide issue of transgender children, but according to Forbes from 2021, “52% of all transgender and nonbinary young people in the U.S. seriously contemplated killing themselves in 2020. More than half thought it would be better to be dead, rather than trying to live with rejection, isolation, loneliness, bullying and being targeted by politicians and activists pushing anti-trans legislation.”
These children have to deal with so much discrimination from conservative policymakers. They are banned from using the correct bathrooms with which they identify. What do we think happens when a trans girl is forced to use the boys’ bathroom and vice versa? They look like the gender with which they identify.
And banning them from playing on the team of the gender with which they identify because people think they have an advantage over the other team is wrong. We might as well ban anyone “different” from playing sports because I can guarantee that transgender children don’t have any advantage over their peers. Everyone is talented in different ways!
Finally, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida enacted by Governor DeSantis is horrible! As an early childhood professional, sex and gender identity isn’t a main topic in the curriculum unless we have a child with gay parents or a child who is struggling with this issue. These children deserve support and compassion. Teachers need to teach children to accept these differences. The LBGTQ+ community is in no way trying to get children to be something that they’re not. They are just trying to get acceptance and support to stop the horrible discrimination they face daily. I believe in having developmentally appropriate discussions and books that include the LBGTQ+ community in the classroom.
I am so grateful that President Biden is taking action to try to help protect everyone in the LBGTQ+ community by taking executive action to stop the use of conversion therapy and help keep the rights and lives of this group as safe as possible. The amount of bigotry from the religious, right wing is absolutely disgusting! And it’s only getting worse!
There’s another group of children and adults who live with a higher than average risk of being abused: The disabled.
“Child abuse and neglect is reported in 3% to 10% of the population with disabilities. The rate of child abuse and neglect is at least 3 times higher in children with disabilities than in the typically developing population.”
Children with disabilities have higher needs and require more care. They often have unique behavioral issues that typical children don’t. For some children with disabilities, these behaviors may last well into adulthood because their brains aren’t able to mature like typical people. They are so reliant on others for care and help that they are prime candidates for all types of abuse.
As someone with a severe disability, I can attest to the abuse. I was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by my dad because I couldn’t control my muscles. I was emotionally and verbally abused by other family members and people at school. Just because life with a child who is disabled can be very stressful and frustrating at times doesn’t excuse abuse.
Like LBGTQ+ children, there’s a stigma that comes along with being disabled. We live in an ableist world. For a long time, people with disabilities, starting in young childhood, were locked up in institutions and forgotten. These institutions were absolutely horrible and many children died from abuse and inadequate care. There even used to be laws that prohibited people with disabilities from being in society. Similarly with the LBGTQ+ community, the disabled have a higher risk of being murdered.
As the article above points out, many religious groups believe that disabilities are due to “sin,” thus, causing people to treat them badly and abuse them. Let me be clear: No disability is due to sin!
Another thing that the article on ableism points out is that the medical community often treats the disability as a “problem.” But people with disabilities have absolutely nothing “wrong” with them. They are just different and deserve quality medical care, and yet, they often don’t receive it. The cost of medical care is even higher than that of typical people and people with disabilities also usually require adaptive equipment and therapy to be able to live the best life they can!
Unfortunately the Americans with Disabilities Act hasn’t helped all that much because most public places only do the minimum requirements. Many employers don’t want to have the responsibility of helping people with disabilities work in their work places. And people with disabilities don’t get “free money.” If they are on SSI, they can only have $2,000 if they are single and $3,000 if married. We’re trying to get this changed.
Being told by parents, teachers, employers, and society in general that “You’re worthless, a burden, a problem, a liability, and your life doesn’t matter” leads to isolation, anxiety, depression, and suicide.
Covid has really bought out just how ableist the world is, especially the United States. Many people feel that their lives are more important than others who are still vulnerable to serious consequences of getting Covid. It’s all-too-often just laughed at while believing that it is perfectly fine for people who are high risk to remain locked up for the rest of their lives. This is going back to the days when children and adults were forced to remain locked up and out of society. This is abuse!
There is no excuse for abuse of any child or adult, especially if they are different. We are all equal and worthy no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and/or disability. We need to stop going backwards and start moving forward to become a kinder, more accepting world. No child should be hurt. It is also abuse and ableist to expect any child to be someone that he/she isn’t or to expect children to be able to do things that they are not yet able to do!
March is Cerebral Palsy (CP) Awareness Month and the butterfly is the symbol for it. It makes sense because we are butterflies but our wings are usually clipped by society. Sure, we have limitations. For me, I have a lot of limitations because of my CP but I don’t like to focus on them. I like to live life. However, I have seen just how much humanity can clip wings with their ableist views on a virus that is killing people, especially us with cerebral palsy, who are high risk due to the muscles in our mouths, throats, and core that negatively affect swallowing and breathing. Even though I have become a “shut-in,” I truly try not to think about what I can’t do. It’s a bit harder, but this is not something that I choose to feel sorry for myself.
I do, however, try to relate to people why we are the way we are in this current situation. I require care 24/7. My husband does it all with zero help even if he is really sick or really hurting. He has no choice. Here’s a post I wrote about cerebral palsy last year.
It isn’t just now that society has clipped my wings. I had to prove myself from Day One. They didn’t think I would live (and really, I shouldn’t have with not breathing for 40 minutes), and if I did, I wouldn’t amount to much. I was in the NICU for almost two weeks.
Growing up, I had to prove myself to teachers and my peers. I was always the first person with severe cerebral palsy to do anything. I was finally allowed to be in regular classes when I was in 3rd grade. Even into college and grad school, I had to prove that with the correct accommodations, I could successfully complete the early childhood education program.
Even though I have spent most of my 40 years in school to have a career helping children and families, I still have not been able to get that career going like my peers have and I do have some shame and anger about this. But I’m refusing to give up.
Also, most people have no idea that the adaptive equipment I need isn’t cheap. It’s extremely expensive and I remember my parents fighting with their insurance companies that I had a medical need for a toilet chair or a bath chair or a wheelchair. Now I’m forced to pay for these things out of pocket and I had to have a Go Fund Me for my wheelchair in 2014 after my 19-year-old chair was so worn that the plastic was hurting me with no more padding.
There’s so much of my life that people don’t see and I want to be seen as a competent person who has unique needs. I still have to prove that I am a competent person because some people automatically assume that I am intellectually disabled. I love how children freely ask me questions and want to understand what is going on. Young children don’t judge me. They are curious. Older children can become bullies and I want to prevent that. Then there are a lot of “little me’s” that need another book that they can read and look at the pictures.
For me, growing up, the only book that I could relate to was called, Howie Helps Himself. The only problem was that they had him in a standard wheelchair, and at the end of the book, Howie pushes the wheels of his wheelchair to make it move. It kind of made me feel bad because I never was able to push myself.
My book shows my wheelchairs with my supports. It shows how I am able to do some of the same things that everyone else can do like love and feel and be a friend. It also shows real life things that I deal with every day such as knocking stuff over, being fed, falling over and needing help to get back up, people treating me as a “child.”
I truly believe that this book will help teachers and families teach children about disabilities and differences as well as similarities. It will also give hope to children with cerebral palsy as well as their parents and families.
Unfortunately, people like me are prey for people who think they can manipulate and use me until they reveal their true colors to me and I, and they, walk away. Thus, I have been ripped off twice now trying to get the book illustrated. I am an honest, caring, trusting person and I paid for each illustration as I approved them. All of the illustrators were people we felt close to and truly trusted. Lesson learned.
For Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, I am asking for more people to help open butterfly wings by participating in a CP Awareness Month Facebook event and to please share as well as donate to my Go Fund Me page to keep raising the money we’ve lost in order to pay my new illustrator. I don’t know the illustrator and the contract is extremely specific. I have learned to guard my heart and my wings because I’m a free spirit. The illustrator will be paid after everything is completed and approved.
I want to open more wings despite the limitations.
I love this quote especially with the current state of the world. I know that I write a great deal about empathy and compassion. I am seeing, and experiencing, less and less empathy. On social media, there’s more “laughing” than there used to be. For example, any public post about Covid including stories about people who had it and had to be hospitalized are laughed at.
As a child advocate, I am all too familiar with the hate and insults I get from people who believe that spanking/hitting, harsh punishment, and cry-it-out are “necessary” for raising “great” people. However, I’m not as familiar with this whole concept of laughing at other people’s stories about their very real pain. I don’t understand why this is happening. I am afraid that the conservative cult is definitely behind it.
Our children are watching everything and listening to everything. We’re trying to fight and stop bullying, but we are seeing adults being the bullies. They bully their children into doing what they want. They bully people like me who refuse to stop speaking up for the most vulnerable in society. I don’t want to live in a world where it’s acceptable for people to be bullied for their pain and fear. It’s not okay; if you believe in Jesus, it’s not what He taught.
This makes me truly afraid of the future and the children growing up with those parents who are laughing at suffering. Those people who are laughing at suffering are sadisticand that’s scary. What kind of world are we headed for if so many are laughing at suffering instead of helping people and protecting people?
This is what Jesus taught:
“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
John 13:34, (NASB).
Do we really want to teach children that it’s ok to laugh at suffering of any kind? Do we really want to teach children that they can walk all over people who are hurting and/or scared? Do we really want to live in a society that doesn’t protect the vulnerable?
At the rate we’re going, that world is becoming too much of a reality and it’s not going to end well for humanity!
With the pandemic still raging on and the new variant, it feels like it will never end. Children ages 5-11 are, as of this writing, finally able to get vaccinated against Covid. Sadly, the same arguments are continuing and getting worse from the anti-mask and anti-vaxxers crowd. They are not able to think about the common good. I have lost all hope for humanity. I guess this could be a product of generations of spanking as research has shown that corporal punishment can have a negative impact on the development of empathy in children.
The world is in disarray and we’re all tired of it. The children are stuck in the middle of the arguments, and are being fueled by the adults to act out. I am only getting glimpses of the true Christmas spirit.
In fact, I keep hearing the toxic message from Christians that “this is from ‘God'” and that “God will spare the righteous.” It is so sad that they don’t understand that this is not from God. Children have died from Covid. Devout Christians are dying from Covid. Jesus never intended for all of this confusion and toxic teachings from the church.
Spirituality is so simple and we weren’t supposed to know it all. Jesus was trying to teach so much more, but because our human minds are so limited and prone to boxing everything up, and man’s desire to control people who are different from them, has led to religion being toxic and oppressive instead of promoting true spiritual freedom. And it’s ruined love for one another. I just feel so bad for humanity; we’re truly stuck in hell of our own making.
We’re losing so much with this pandemic. Grief is horrible for many people this year again. I know it’s pretty bad for me.
My message to everyone is to grieve together, and think of other people more than ourselves. Seek truth, Science, compassion, and true love. May children stay safe and learn true empathy. Or, may we learn it from them! Peace and love through the holidays!
This has been a major challenge for me in my career. It is also a very sensitive subject for me because I have always wanted a child. May this post show people that people don’t have to be parents to advocate for children and have a career in child and family services.
The post below is from my friend, Elaina; we both had abusive backgrounds as children. That makes us even more passionate about advocating for children.
What is to follow is spot-on for me too. Having been subjected to obvious abuse from my dad and covert abuse from my mother who is now out of my life, I have always wanted to help stop this cycle. I want children of my own, but with my severe cerebral palsy, it just never got to the point of being able to afford help. Believe me, I don’t know what parenting is like, but I know it’s tough to re-parent myself—something I work on constantly.
I have spent a lot of time studying child development (I have a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education) and have worked with many children, including many young children. And, being severely physically disabled, I have gained a lot of insight on being totally dependent on others for my every need. I know how it feels to be treated harshly and gently.
Please take to heart Elaina’s reasons for being so passionate about advocating for children despite not having children of her own.
Twenty years ago I was about to turn 20-years-old and a college student. I was newly engaged and my now husband was my personal aide in school. The 9/11 attacks happened while we were on the way to school that morning. We had no idea what happened until we walked into the office where I was allowed to get extra time to get my homework done due to my severe cerebral palsy. Everyone was quiet and in shock. My tutor asked if we had heard what happened and we said no. She told us and led us to the television. We watched in shock as the towers were on fire and eventually fell. It felt like I was watching a movie. I didn’t know how to process it and trying to get my work done was stressful.
As time went on and I watched it all unfold, I got emotional. And my birthday 48 hours later was somber despite my turning twenty. Everything was somber for a while and the skies were so quiet from the airplanes being grounded. We didn’t know what was going to happen next. It was a very hard and scary time. My husband’s friend from grade school was one of the casualties of that day.
But what I remember most, except for a few conspiracy theorists who were ignorant, and still are, about the attacks, the country actually came together. People were kinder. Drivers had more empathy for each other. Definitely a total contrast from today’s current reaction to the pandemic.
Children got comforted and observed the adults coming together to help each other deal with the trauma. Oh how I long for that type of empathy and compassion again. Social media is probably going to be the destroyer of the world since it allows people to become even more ingrained in their beliefs and argue with everyone. It is now spilling over into the real world.
As Covid is raging on and affecting our children more due to the virus mutating and “learning” how to infect yet even more vulnerable people, once again we hear parents who don’t care about the well-being of their children or others scream, “Let the children breathe!” Some states have enacted laws banning schools from mandating masks. Thankfully, an increasing number of school districts are defying those states’ laws that ban mask mandates in schools. Here’s what is already happening as children are back to school full time.
As of this writing, children are not yet eligible for the vaccine if they are under twelve years of age in the United States, and yet, after over a year and a half of this pandemic, people refuse to accept the fact that this pandemic is dangerous and deadly. Some people may get lucky and have a mild case, but not everyone is that lucky. Look at the hospitals and talk to the healthcare workers.
It turns out that children are more accepting of wearing masks than adults. The adults are, sadly, teaching aggression and selfishness by fighting (sometimes literally) over masks, vaccines, and other mitigations to try to stop the virus. This is the wrong direction for all of us. We need to stop politicizing the health crisis and come together. Our children need to see us caring enough about our fellow man that we wear masks and get vaccinated if possible. Otherwise, this world will never be healed.
People talk about selfishness all the time, especially when it comes to raising children and not wanting the children to become “selfish little brats.” However, the parents who are arguing about wearing masks as well as getting vaccinated and protesting against mask/vaccine mandates are teaching the children how to throw a “fit” and be “defiant” to get their own way. These parents, ironically, tend to be pro-spankers. It is so sad that their children are getting spanked/hit for similar behavior that goes against the parents’ wishes. This makes no sense. We have to model appropriate behavior for children. They are mimicking us!
Another thing is that as soon as infants are able to get into dangerous situations, we teach them about danger. An infant doesn’t know that an electrical socket is dangerous, but we tell him/her it is and move him/her away from the outlet. Young children can’t see the danger of running out in the street until we panic and scoop them up out of the street while saying, “DANGEROUS!” There are so many dangerous things from which we have to protect children. They must take our word for it or suffer possible horrific consequences. It is just the same for Covid. Just because we can’t SEE the virus floating around in the air, does not mean it’s not dangerous!
We need to step up and do what is right for the whole world instead of the individual. We must protect our children and everyone else by looking beyond our own wants to the needs of our society. Let the children breathe.
That was the message I got throughout my childhood. I would try to say that I was sorry to avoid being hit or yelled at and my parents would say, “Sorry isn’t good enough” either outright or through hurting me in some way to punish me for whatever I either truly did wrong or they perceived as wrong.
I, unfortunately, now say “Sorry” a lot and I mean it but my therapist said that it comes from my childhood abuse and that I say it too much, even when I am not in the wrong. I hate conflicts and try to fix them as soon as possible, but I keep having relationships that reinforce the “Sorry isn’t good enough” message. It is a major trigger for me when people don’t accept my sincere apology.
So what are we teaching our children when we either force them to apologize and/or don’t accept their apology? Well, obviously if they are punished and/or abused, they may learn to try to use it as protection, only it doesn’t work and then they learn that apologies don’t work.
Children also learn to apologize when they don’t feel sorry. It is better to apologize for the child until he/she is truly able to apologize and mean it. Forcing the child to apologize for something just teaches him/her to say it when he/she is in trouble.
It also teaches children to believe that people won’t accept the apology. We break the “Sorry isn’t good enough” message by modeling apologizing to them and always apologizing to them when we make mistakes. They need to see the adults in their lives do it and have it accepted. If it isn’t accepted, then explain to them that some people don’t have the ability to accept the apology and that is on those people and not our fault.
There should be very few instances when an apology truly isn’t enough such as major crime and other adult things that children shouldn’t have to deal with but will because we live in a world where crime and truly horrible things happen.
Finally, while a child should never be punished, natural consequences will happen. If a child hits another child, the hurt child will cry and may not want to play with the child right away. Ask the child that hit what he/she can do to help the other child feel better. Apologies that are sincere should always be good enough!!!