Every child (and adult) makes mistakes. It is important to say sorry for those mistakes , but morality takes a long time to develop. Rather than rushing it and forcing apologies its is a parenting challenge to kids to show empathy, and help our children learn what a true apology is so they can offer them meaningfully.Forced apologies teach children to say things they do not mean.
Every apology should contain four elements:
- I’m sorry.
- I know that what I did hurt you (or whatever the outcome of the action was).
- What I did was wrong.
- Will you forgive me?As we talk with our children, we can help them to understand that these elements make up a full apology.
Apologies are tough at any age. Some kids refuse to admit guilt (“I’m not sorry, so why should I apologize?”), or they may be scared, embarrassed, or shy about actually apologizing. Here are some options for kids who balk.
- Stay neutral.If kids have a conflict, it can be hard to know who’s owed an apology. When you hear “He did it!” and “She started it!” explain to both children that they don’t have to be at fault in order to apologize. Each child can say, “I’m sorry that happened.” This helps kids calm down, repair hurt feelings, and move on. Child Care provider, parents and teachers at preschool should ensure above.
- Do it together.Tell your child that you know it’s hard to apologize, and offer to help. “If he’s little, you can even pick him up and say, ‘Come on, I’ll say it with you,’ . Some kids need time to cool down, so it’s okay to give them some breathing room (“Tomorrow, when we go to school, you need to apologize to Amayra. I’d be happy to help you”). It’s easier for some young kids to convey their apology by drawing a picture or dictating a note. A kind gesture, like bringing a flower or giving the injured party a hug, serves the same purpose.
- Don’t insist.Encourage but don’t force your child to say he’s sorry. That can make the situation worse and even more embarrassing, and no one will feel good about an apology under those circumstances. If your child snarls “I’m sorry!” just to end a standoff, it’ll be a meaningless apology that doesn’t teach him anything.
- Angry Mommy is of no help !.Instead of saying, “Apologize right now or you’re going to be in trouble!” try “When you find a way to make your friend feel better, you can play with her again.”
- Set an example.If your child is too upset with his friend at the preschool or simply unwilling to say she’s sorry, you can apologize for him. “You’ll set a good example and help ease the other child’s hurt feelings. Then deal with your child later. You can tell the other child, “I’m so sorry this happened. Mishika and I will be talking about it at home.”
- Beware if it’s too easy.Sometimes kids try to use “I’m sorry” as a free ticket out of trouble. They toss it off as soon as they sense they’ve done something wrong, and expect everything to be fine. They may be puzzled that you’re still upset (“I said I was sorry!”) and might repeat the offending behavior before too long. Point out that an apology helps, but only if he’s sincere about doing things differently next time.