Today, my nieces came over to visit. The girls LOVE getting together. Although my daughter is not an only child, she feels like she is given the age disparity between her and her siblings. So, any day she can play with her cousins is a GREAT day!
Although the girls love playing together, it's rare for them to have an argument-free visit. By the end of nearly each and every visit, I'm either consoling my daughter because her feelings got hurt, or I'm having a heart-to-heart about her hurting the feelings of one of her cousins.
Today, my daughter got her feelings hurt and also hurt the feelings of one of her cousins. As you can imagine, her initial statements about the incident included a lot of blame. Although she acknowledged that she said something hurtful, she concluded that she wouldn't have said it had her cousin not hurt her feelings first.
I validated her pain...it does not feel good when someone hurts your feelings! I then gave her a ton of space to think about things. After just a few minutes, she had earnestly reflected on what she said and was agonizing over it. She asked me if her cousin would forgive her. I told her that I believed she would, but couldn't say for sure.
My daughter desperately wanted to apologize to her cousin. She was sad that her cousin had departed, not affording her the opportunity to apologize in person. I offered to call my niece so they could talk it out on the phone. She didn't want to do that. I offered to text my brother so that she could do it that way. She agreed to text. However, after thinking on it a bit longer, she questioned the point. If she wasn't sure her cousin would forgive her, then why even apologize?
We had a long talk about why one apologizes. It was surprisingly more difficult to explain than I expected. It was hard for my daughter to fathom apologizing solely because it was the right thing to do, and not dependent upon knowing whether she'd be forgiven.
My daughter ultimately took responsibility for her actions. It would have been so easy for her to continue to blame the entire incident on her cousin. Instead, she sat in the uncomfortable space of knowing that she should have made a different choice.
While I hate to see my daughter upset, I couldn't make this easier. All I could do was hold space. I couldn't be more proud of my little girl.
Be open to what comes.