Having a child apologize for a wrong can sometimes be a challenge but I feel it is so important to teach these life lessons for our kids. The short of it was:
Last night we were invited to go to a friends house who also has 4 kids to go trick or treating with a group of parents and other kids. All of the kids know each other and are friends and of course the parents are good friends. We started out with a walk/run to the elementary school for pizza and glow sticks and then out to the crazy neighborhood for trick or treating. AFter 1 1/2 hours of glorious fun we went back to my friends house for a light dinner and some candy trading amongst the kids. Everything was going well when I started noticing my 9 yr old getting a little out of control, candy and being so overstimulated for this one is not a good combination, I was counting the minutes that we had left before something would happen. I had to speak to him several times to settle him down he was just so excited.
Anyhoo, a parent came out to talk to me to tell me that he was throwing candy on the lawn and not listening to her, I went out to speak to him and he stopped, however I knew something wasn't right. Low and behold come to find out when we were about to leave the candy that my son was throwing on the lawn happened to be the hostesses sons bag of treats. The little boy had no candy left in his bag and he was really upset. When I approached my son he told me that he didn't realize that it was the boys candy and thought it was a bowl left out for trick or treaters, I said, " did it matter" you were throwing candy that wasn't yours. I had my child go back to the little boy and give him some of his candy, actually two big handfuls and then my daughter graciously gave him two big handfuls as well, I was hoping that we could replenish most of the bag that he lost. The little boy seemed ok with the gesture and we apologized and went home. For the next hour my son had a major temper tantrum regarding losing his candy, not understanding why he had to give up his hard earned candy that he walked for almost 2 hrs for, it was awful. He just didn't get it. However, he was exhausted, he was coming down from a major sugar high, it was just time to go to bed.
AFter a very long day for me, 8 hrs in the classroom, and 5hours of halloween trick or treating and tantrums I just needed to go to bed. I didn't want to talk about it and realized that we would discuss it in the morning. In the morning we discussed it a bit and I said we needed to come up with a plan, that he really needed to understand what he did and why it was important to give the little boy the candy. After school he said he thought about what we talked about and realized that what he did was wrong. He realized that if he ended up with no candy he would of behaved 1 million times worse then anyone else in that situation and by giving him the candy it was the right thing to do. We both decided that he needed to write him an apology note and bring it to him this evening. After several minutes of standing by the car and being afraid to go to the door, he walked and knocked on the door and asked to speak to the little boy. After apologizing and handing him his own hand written note they both high fived and started to laugh. At that moment he knew he did the right thing. He came to the car excited and said, " Momma, did you see him high five me, he is happy now mommy".
It was a hard lesson for him but I think he understood in the end what he did wrong. I am so proud of him for coming to the realization ( all be much later than I hoped but he still got there) and apologizing in person. Life lessons are hard, I wouldn't want to be 9 again if you paid me. Anyway, lets hope everyone is happy in the end.