Suzy: Dad, I’m sorry I scratched the couch!
Dad: It’s okay, just don’t do it again.
2 minutes later
Suzy: Dad, I’m sorry I picked my nose.
Dad: Yeah, we don’t pick our noses or they bleed.
2 minutes later
Suzy: Dad, I’m sorry I kicked the chair.
Dad: Yeah, it’s okay, don’t worry about it.
repeat ad nauseum
Suzy: Mom, I need to tell you a secret.
Mom: Suzy, if you’re saying sorry for something, I don’t want to hear it!
Suzy: I won’t mom, I just need to tell you a secret.
Suzy: Mom, I’m sorry I jumped on the floor.
repeat ad nauseum for 2 weeks
on a car ride home one afternoon
Suzy: Dad, I need to tell you something
Dad: Sure Suzy, what is it?
Suzy: I’m sorry I kicked the seat in the truck
Dad: Okay, thanks for telling me, just don’t kick it anymore.
dad turns on music
dad turns down music
Dad: Yes Suzy?
Suzy: I’m sorry I pulled out one of my hairs.
Dad: Okay, okay, just try to sit there and listen to the music.
dad turns music back up
repeat, AGAIN, ad nauseum (yes, my child is obsessive/compulsive)
dad is ignoring 5 year old
dad turns off music
Dad: WHAT! If you tell me you’re sorry one more, I’m gonna lose it!
Suzy: I’m sorry I wiped a booger on the seat.
Dad: Look, Suzy, you don’t have to say sorry for everything okay!
Suzy: But dad, I’m supposed to say sorry when I do something wrong.
I’ve been on my daughter’s case since she was born. “Don’t do that!” “Knock it off!” etc. She also has learned to say sorry when she does something wrong. Honestly, I never thought this would come back to haunt me in quite this way!
I’ve laid out so many things that she should and shouldn’t do, and she violates so many of them just by nature of being a kid. But it was getting extremely tedious when every time she opened her mouth we had a confessional! I told her to stop apologizing all the time. Of course that’s not really what I meant. When she told me she was supposed to say sorry when she did something wrong, I simply didn’t know what to say. Of course she should apologize when she does something wrong, but clearly not everything was wrong, or at least it wasn’t a big enough deal to warrant guilt and/or shame. But is it a big deal? I had taken the time to tell her (repeatedly) not to do those things in the past, how should she know what is a big deal and what is not? How should she know when she’s apologizing too much, and which things warrant a real apology? How should she know which rules are really the important ones to keep, and which ones aren’t? Perhaps I should have been more careful in my criticizing her actions. Perhaps I should have just let some things slide, picking my battles more wisely. After all, a parent can only handle so many confessionals!