How to end the blame game

2 min read

By Molly Mills

I recently found myself acting like a 6 year old, and not in a run-around-the-yard-barefoot, happy-go-lucky kind of way. It was more of a “but-you-started-it” shouting match kind of way. Needless to say, it wasn’t my proudest parenting moment.

It was Saturday morning, and I was trying to enjoy a few hours of calm before the line up of soccer games, birthday parties, yard work and other general weekend to do’s.

But before I knew it, we were 20 minutes out from the first game and my 6 year old’s cleats and shin guards were no where to be found. Cue the panicked scramble and blame game that looked something like this:

Me: accuse daughter of being irresponsible and never putting things where they belong

6 year old daughter: get defensive, tell me I’m a mean mom, retreat to room to make us more late

8 year old daughter: persistent voice in the background telling (yelling) that it’s all our fault we are going to be late and saying “come ON” as many times as humanly possible within 5 minutes

Eventually, as the yelling continued, I found the soccer gear in an unpacked bag and we got to the game – with all of us in a funk and our feelings hurt. Not the way any of us wanted to start our day.

From experience, I knew that the day would only unravel more if we didn’t clear the air and “start fresh.” This is when the Double Sorry concept we learned this year in our Girls Leadership workshop came to mind (and helped boost my parenting mojo). The concept of Double Sorry is about realizing that in most arguments, both sides have most likely contributed to the problem. It teaches us to reflect on our own mistakes rather than just placing the blame on others.

I’ve found that whenever I say I’m sorry (especially if I’m first), my kids pay a little more attention, own their actions and speak their sorries a little more sincerely. More importantly, it shows them that I make mistakes, and that it’s ok for them to make mistakes too. When we acknowledge our mistakes, we alleviate the pressure to be perfect.

Our “Double Sorry” was actually a triple sorry that started with me apologizing for being so accusatory from the start, my 6 year old apologizing for not getting her soccer stuff ready on time, and my 8 year old apologizing for yelling at both of us instead of helping.

Triple sorry – it was beautiful. And oddly, it brought that sense of calm I was looking for earlier that morning even as we raced on to the next game.

Read more from Girls Leadership:

on Parenting   on Conflict

  1. Heather Bennett

    Thanks for this. I had a similar morning just today when we couldn’t locate a lunch bag.
    Double sorry. Beautiful.

  2. Margie Cantor

    Loved the ‘why” article on High Schoolers.
    Please include me on tips for this age in particular.
    I have been trying to get my daughter to attend a camp for years. We did attend a workshop when she was in Elementary school!
    I have such respect for your program. We are struggling through High School and any support in how I can better suport her and “model” healthy responses
    is greatly appreciated.

    • Dorothy Ponton, Digital Marketing Manager

      Hi Margie,

      For support parenting High School girls, check out our co-founder Rachel Simmons’ books Curse of the Good Girl and Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and Lisa Damour’s book Untangled. (both of those are links to buy online, but these books are available at libraries and local bookstores too)


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