Teaching Little Ones to Make Amends

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Harrison had a rough day at school today. It was a seriously bad day. He hit three friends and kicked another one. He also struggled to listen to his teacher about other matters. Now my child is by no means perfect, in fact I would say that he can be a handful, but this was beyond the pale.

When I found out what had happened, I tried to come up with a way both to impress upon him the seriousness of his offenses while also helping him try to “fix” what he had broken. We had a long talk about friendship, using gentle hands, and treating people how we want to be treated. I also reminded him that Jesus wants us to be kind to each other. Then I tried to remind him of times when he was on the receiving end of bad treatment.

My issue wasn’t with how to punish him, but with how I could make the punishment fit the crime so to speak. I decided that after supper he would not get any play time or tv time. He was instead required to write an apology note to each student he had hurt and his teacher. He and I discussed what he should say ,and I wrote the notes in highlighter so that he  could trace the letters. This took him over a half an hour to complete, but he seemed to understand why it was important to show that he really was sorry for hurting others.  After he finished his cards, it was bed time, so he did not get any play time.

It remains to be seen rather this activity will make enough of an impression to curb any of this type of behavior tomorrow or in the future. I hope to speak with him more tomorrow and to use this as a lesson in the future about not only making good choices but also offering forgiveness to others since we all need forgiveness ourselves sometimes.

I think that our next Bible memory verse will be:

Ephesians 4:32King James Version (KJV)

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

How do you encourage your children to apologize? Do you sometimes require that they go beyond an apology and do some sort of work to restore a broken relationship? How can we show our children their individual need for Christ when they’ve made poor choices?

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