My Kid Pushed Another Kid. I’m So Proud.

My Kid Pushed Another Kid. I’m So Proud.

- in Ages & Stages

My nightstand is full of books. I read a lot. They aren’t novels. They aren’t stories and tales I can escape into for entertainment. They are parenting books. OK, maybe there are one or two books in there authored by some of my favorite “Real Housewives on Bravo… but mostly, the books are self-help parenting books. In the last seven years of being a mother, I am almost always desperately seeking that one parenting hack that will get my kid to follow directions. Spoiler alert: I’ve been largely unsuccessful.

I have tried so many of the tactics preached from these books, and so many of them have failed me miserably. Often that leads me to feel like I’m failing miserably. However, every now and then my child gives me a token, a cue, a reminder that sometimes, and mostly maybe, I am doing something right.

I pick up my kids every day from school, and on warmer days I let them play on the playground with their friends for about 20 minutes. During this chaotic playground scream fest, the moms typically stand in formation and chat about the kids and our weekend plans. A few weeks ago, one of my friends approached me and said, “I have to show you what your son gave my daughter today.”

My. Heart. Stops. Oh no! What did he give her? My mind goes right down the wrong path. It must be something terrible. It must be something completely inappropriate. It’s not that he has ever given anyone something inappropriate; it’s just that this sounded like it was not going to be a bouquet of flowers. She unfolded a green piece of paper from her pocket and handed it to me.

On it read, in my son’s handwriting, “I am sorry [girl’s name], for accidentally pushing you. I hope you forgive me. Love, Leo.” Heart starts beating again. Actually, I’ve never been more proud. I mean, he pushed someone and that’s not OK, and I’m assuming the “accidental” part is maybe even a lie. But he made it right! On paper! In an apology letter! Which I totally make him do at home all the time, and he hates it!

I learned this in one of those books: You can’t stop your kid from doing a lot of the things that they will do, but you can teach them how to make it right, once they do. And without any prompting from me or another adult, he wrote his first apology letter on his own free will.

My friend said that her daughter handed the note to her and asked her to save it. The apology meant something to her. My son went out of his way to show her that his apology was genuine, and it worked.

I don’t always think how I parent is the right way, but at least that day I felt so incredibly proud of my son and maybe even more so, proud of myself for not giving up on trying to teach my kids right from wrong… even when it doesn’t seem like it’s working.

About the author

Renee Sanden
Hi! I'm Reneé Sanden and I am Cora And Leo's Mom (C.A.L.M in CLE). I stay at home with my two kids but I rarely ever "stay home" as we are always visiting some kid-friendly event or location in the area. I married an incredible man (Adam) and we share a pretty amazing life together in Mentor. When I'm not with my kids, I like to golf, go out to dinner with friends and travel. My life has changed in major ways since having kids that are 17 months apart, but I couldn't possibly be any happier. I know as Moms we are supposed to say that, but I mean it. I don’t miss my pre-kids life. Except for maybe the sleep. And the quiet. Other than that, I’m good.


  1. Way to go Leo, and mom!

  2. Love you, Sally! Thank you 😊

  3. Sally Gerboth

    I love this!! Great article!! Tell Leo that Gigi is s proud of him!! You are a wonderful Mom!! Don’t be so hard on yourself!! It is Avery difficult job!! Love you

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