Letters of Apology

I don’t usually write two posts in one day, let alone in one week sometimes, but this is post-worthy.

sadfaceZack came home from Kindergarten with another yellow card today. It’s his second one this year (as in 2013, calendar year, not school year). I could tell he was upset. I was upset. I was disappointed. I was frustrated.

Zack is young. He’s the youngest one (literally) in his class. The one thing we are always watching out for is how easily influenced he is. Every morning when we get to school, before we get out of the car, we have a conversation about making good choices. Just because someone makes a bad choice doesn’t mean you have to do the same. “You are your own person and can make your own good choices.” I tell him over and over and over. I feel like he gets it – he understands, at least when we are discussing it. BUT, he is constantly getting stuck following other kids’ bad choices, which sometimes lands Zack in trouble.

I know Zack is a smart boy. I know he understands the difference between right and wrong. I know he understands rewards… today he learned a big lesson about consequences.

We get home from school (and from picking Brayden up from school too) and before we even get in the house, “Can I play, Mom?” “No. There is no playing today.” I get Brayden settled with a snack and a movie and go digging in my office for a small pad of lined paper. I tell Zack to sit at the counter (as he does most days after school to have his snack and do his homework), but this time is a little different. I write out a little note that he must copy: Dear Mrs. B, Sorry for throwing food at lunch today. I will make better choices. -Zackery (Yes, you read that right, my sweet little boy, with whom I snuggled with most of the morning yesterday, took part in a lunch room game of catch-the-broccoli).

I made Zack sit quietly and write a letter of apology to his teacher, and all five of the other kids in his class who took part. I made him sit there until all six letters of apology were done. By the time he finished it was already dinner time, so from the kitchen counter to the table he went. He moped as he ate, and I attempted to talk to him more about the earlier incident. He didn’t remember everything, but he said he knew that what he did was wrong. “What was going through your head when you were throwing food?” I asked him. He didn’t know, other than telling me “Well *kid’s name here* started it first!”

I made him sit at the table while Brayden and I finished our dinner. He wasn’t happy about that. He wanted to play. There is no playing today. I made him sit at the table with nothing to do for another half hour after dinner was over. Brayden was playing, but not Zack. Zack was learning about consequences.

I don’t know if I was right to make him sit at the table for so long or not, but what I do know is that I truly hope he understands now what it means to NOT follow bad choices. I also don’t know if his teacher will give out the letters of apology to the other five kids (the other five kids who also played catch-the-broccoli), but for me it’s more about Zack writing those notes and understanding why.

Once bedtime came and both boys had their jammies on it was a pretty normal evening – if ever there is one. We sat on the couch and read books. Zack even read two books out loud to us (I am really proud at how well he is doing with his reading, and I made sure to tell him that as I tucked him in). Zack and Brayden are both comfy-cozy in their beds. Let’s hope for different – better – choices tomorrow.

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About pamelazimmer

Pamela Zimmer is a #1 bestselling author and speaker, transforming her personal pain and experience of Postpartum Depression into her purpose and passion. Through her #1 bestselling book, Reclaim The Joy of Motherhood, and her mentorship program, The HAPPY Mommy Method™, Pamela guides mothers on a healing journey from battling their own Postpartum Depression to embracing motherhood with joy.

Posted on February 19, 2013, in Milestones and Development and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Okay, I’ll try again…the screen went blank on me (maybe someone didn’t like my comment?)
    Some therapists–and maybe grocers, too–might say the real question is why the kids didn’t like broccoli. But the real issue is that kids will be kids, and food fights are very tempting. That doesn’t make food fights good.
    I think you handled it very well. More effectively than making Zachery write “I will not throw broccoli” 100 times on a wall. Writing apology letters accomplishes the same patter, but it makes an impression on the teacher, and maybe also on the other kids involved.
    It certainly makes an impression of BOTH of your sons. It confirms that Mom has certain standards and expectations, and there will be consequences when her boys forget that.

    Now, it’s over. You did a good job, Mom, and it’s finished.
    Go and cuddle your boys.
    Don’t serve broccoli for awhile. Give them turnips as a vegetable tomorrow night so they’re realize broccoli is actually kind of good. Not great, but better than turnips (don’t add butter or cheese or anything).
    Tonight when the boys are asleep, you and Daddy can whisper and laugh about this, because it’s kind of typical and cute and active, even though it’s not acceptable.

    • Ha ha, thanks Marylin.
      The broccoli was from the school hot lunch – I can understand why maybe it got thrown, although my boys eat it up in this house (always been good with their veggies).
      And I didn’t make him write on the chalkboard – brings back memories (not of me, of course not). But I did make him write “I will make good choices.” down a whole sheet of paper. 🙂

  2. Zachery is young yet. Anyway, since someone else started it, probably with laugher following, it looked like innocent fun while the rip was on.

  3. As you know there is no manual for motherhood. Well there probably is, but nothing would have told you what to do. I think you taught him a good lesson and he’ll think twice before following again if he remembers the consequences. I think acknowledging our disappointment is a major punishment.

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