Thursday, October 30, 2008

The 5 Step Apology

My blogging friends have been experiencing so much heartache lately. My heart goes out to each and every one of you.

I, on the other hand, feel like we have most definitely turned a corner and are in a new(good) place.

Our lives have changed dramatically since last year. Alyssa has worked hard, Jeff & I have worked hard. It has paid off! Alyssa finally feels safe! And, because she feels safe, she is opening up and sharing her feelings. I hesitate to use the word healed, because healing, I believe, is continuous. But I do believe that she is attached to us. She trusts us. That in and of itself is a huge accomplishment!

I also believe that my darling Alyssa will always have "issues". I also believe that because of her history, she is going to be a very strong, compassionate adult. She is going to appreciate her life more and really understand that she is special.

Our daily struggles have shifted from hate filled tantrums and defiance, to "normal" kid sassy issues. Our therapy has also shifted to repairing our relationship, and helping Alyssa realize how her words and actions affect other people.

Paulette gave us a new technique to use for apologies. She called it "The 5 Step Apology"

1. I'm sorry____________(Specifically address the person, ie: Mom or Dad)
2. For: _______________(Must say what she is sorry for)
3. My words or actions made you feel:______________________(she must connect that when she says for example "I hate you!", that it makes us feel unloved)
4. To make it up to you, I will:_______________________(she needs to tell us what she will do to make the apology sincere).
5. Is that acceptable to you? (This last step gives us the opportunity to coach Alyssa in the different magnitude of offenses. For example, an "I hate you!" could be made up for with a hug and a kiss, a broken vase might be made up for with chores, etc.)

This process is to take the place of Jeff & I handing down consequences. It is designed to get Alyssa to understand cause and affect. I am excited about this process. We have already begun using it and Alyssa has already had an "AH HA" moment!

I think I am going to enjoy this new phase in our therapy. I am starting to feel like just a "normal" Mom!


Lisa said...

OOOOooooo Gerri, this is wonderful news!!!
And I love the 5 step. The #3 is missing from ours so we'll start incorporating that. Thanks for sharing!
You're an awesome mom!!!

Dinah said...

Yes, I also like this. Maybe a bit harder to get my 4yr to vocalize this, but I can help him find the words.

I'm just at that really frustrated point right now.

Rick said...

Love your comment on my blog. I replied there.

Now use one of those five steps to apologize to me.

Rick said...

My reply on my blog...

To The Mother of Alyssa: Yes. The stranger the better.

(You're funny)

Rick said...

Socks huh? You are strange. I'm feeling better. Apology accepted.

Heather said...

I am going to have to use this. We do steps one and two, but I hadn't thought of the others. One of the things we are working on with our daughter is empathy, and this would be a great tool. Thanks for sharing!

FaerieMama said...

So glad I just found your blog! I read your comment on Lisa's ( of Grateful house...). Can't wait to read more!