Wednesday Works For Me

I’m playing along with Rocks In My Dryer: Works For Me Wednesday . My tip this week has to do with encouraging kids not to pick on each other.

When kids are using unkind words or actions they are expected to apologize. But not just a quick, over the shoulder ‘sorry’. I think that admitting wrong-doing is an important part of an apology– it’s so easy for a kid to be arrogant and not admit they did the wrong thing. Plus, I want the kids to actually ask for forgiveness. So at our house, an apology needs to include the words, “I was wrong to do that. Please forgive me.”

When a seriously unkind thing has happened, or when a child offends over and over, I bring out the big guns. I assign him or her a job that belongs to the wronged sibling. Most of the time if a kid is acting stinky towards a sibling, it is a serious punishment to be required to make that child’s bed, or fold his laundry.

Always, of course, I have to remember to be consistent about enforcing these types of consequences. But when I do, I find that it drastically decreases the unkind behavior in our home. So there ya have it. Works for me.


  1. That is awesome. We call that the Three Part Apology (I was wrong-I'm sorry-will you please forgive me). Any of the three missing makes for an incomplete apology.

    I love the spirit with which you write about your family. Keep it up!

  2. This is great. My sister in-law is great at this concept, too, and makes my niece & nephew say a "blessing" to the offended one. My niece was not nice to my Carter and so she was told to say she was sorry and tell him a blessing. Even though she said it through tears and an unhappy tone, she said "I am sorry, Carter and you are very handsome!" It was precious!

    Good tip that I need to use!

  3. What a great idea. Much better than an insincere apology. I also loved the idea of making them pray over each other. Moms are going to be so equipped with this.

  4. my mom used to make us sit next to each other and hold hands until we were just so tired of being mad that we'd start laughing and make up, but I definitely like the idea of the apology asking forgiveness. valuable lesson.

  5. great idea!

  6. we do the same thing, and you're right! it does work!!

  7. Awesome idea. I think this new plan will be implemented with my 3 year old daughter very soon. 🙂 Hope it "works for me", too.

  8. We do this, too, and it does help a lot.

  9. I have made my children give eachother a hug when they apologize, but sometimes the offended isn't ready for that. I like the idea about doing the chores for restitution.

  10. great idea. makes the kids be a little more mindful of their words and actions. i like it!

  11. Few things get more me fired up than an apology that is not meant. Typically our children are fairly remorseful when they know they've done something hurtful…but NOT always. As they get older it seems to be less typical.

    I love hearing your stories and helpful suggestions. I am constantly amazed that you have time to do this amidst your lovelies.

    Thank you for writing…you've been a huge source of encouragement for me!

  12. Excellent advice and tips on discipline… Especially when children say or do unkind things to each other!!!

    Love it, and it will work for me, too! (when Hunter can talk, that is!)

  13. Just out of curiosity, if one of your kids catches you doing something nasty to someone else do they get to call you on it too? 🙂

  14. Ooohhh. I love this! I am SO using it!

  15. We do the chore thing, too. I never thought of making their "sorries" more complete. Thank you!

  16. I LOVE the idea of having them do some chores for the offended sibling! I do the specific apology, but I'm now adding this!

  17. ccap– um….no. Our home is a monarchy, a benevolent one, but a monarchy none the less. Dad and Mom are the King and Queen.

    One of the things we are teaching our children is to respect authority. We believe that is an important thing to learn. As adults in the business world, they won't get far if they argue with or criticize the boss at every turn.

    We do our best to treat our children with dignity and respect, and try not to run roughshod over them. As Christians we have told our children that they do not have to obey if ever we tell them to do something against God's law.

    But otherwise, we as parents deserve respect. Not because we are perfect– we aren't– but because as parents we were placed by God in a position of authority over our children.

    One final thought– though we as parents don't allow our children to criticize our handling of things, we do apologize when we goof. John and I have both apologized to our kids plenty of times. Hopefully our children will grow up knowing that even though we are not perfect, we do treat them as precious, respected, and valued people.


  18. thanks for your entry. we use the same type of words for apology and it usually works. if it doesn't then we do the sit on the couch-right-next-to each-other thing like tess wrote about. i truly appreciate your blog. your entries and love for your fam. are an encouragement to a younger mom of only 4 trying to homeschool, honor God, love my kids, and not yell too much 🙂 sarah-Albany,NY

  19. Terrific guidelines! Great WFMW.

  20. I lvoe this!

  21. Great ideas. 🙂
    And great thoughts about authority.
    I love reading your blog and ideas.

  22. Mary! I had no idea that anyone else made their kids do that! My daughters have to look each other in the eye as they say "I'm sorry", and the offendee says "I forgive you". When one of my girls is in a particularly surly mood and continues to pick on another of her sisters, I send her to bed early.(Just wipe the slate clean for the next day) I also make her take care of her sister's responsibilities the very next day. My children keep me in line! They are not kids who adjust to change in routine easily. If I even TRY to have a relaxed day (bending the rules), they begin barking at me about it. What can I say? I'm raising myself – times THREE.

  23. That's a great idea that I am going to try out. Thanks.

  24. Excellent idea. My kids know that just "sorry" doesn't count. It has to be "I'm sorry". That "I'm" in there is just so important, isn't it?