when your kids do wrong

[more innocent times. sweet little hands.]
When my kids do wrong it is heartbreaking.  I love these two little beings more than life itself and yet it isn’t enough to keep them from making mistakes.  Yes, falling down is part of growing up, but as a parent it is saddening and even embarrassing.  I quickly begin to question my skills as a mother and expose all my shortcomings. It must be my fault somehow, right?
I am raising two boys.  The adventure that lies ahead is often staggering to think about.  Over the past year or so, I have formulated a few guidelines for myself.  Really, its just my way of finding a way to survive this crazy ride!
1.  Be firm, follow through, but remind them just how much I love them.  
Yes.  There is a consequence for a bad decision.  However, I remind myself to tell them clearly, “What you did is not ok, but I still love you and I know you will do better.”
2.  Keep talking to a minimum.  
They tune me out after the first 30 seconds.  I have to choose words that will have impact.  The point needs to be made quickly if it is to penetrate the mind of a young boy. 
3.  Don’t apologize for them.
Every fiber of my being fights this!  When my kids have messed up, the first thing I want to do is apologize.  I want the injured party to know just how serious this is to me.  In the past few months, I have stopped myself from doing this. While it is true I am sorry it happened, I can’t own it for them.   As I speak [or type an email] to an adult, teacher, principal, or coach I convey how very disappointed I am in the actions of my son.  However, if an apology is to come – it must come from my child.  He must own it.  Not me.
Please know that my process may also include crying [privately or in public], some yelling, a whole bunch of crazy unleashed on my husband, and seeking solace with my girlfriends and a glass(es) of wine.   
No one is perfect {including kids} and we’re all in this together.  At least we should be.

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