Teaching Kids How To ApologizeOctober 24, 2014
Children need to learn to apologize when they have done something wrong or unacceptable, and they need to learn to be accountable at a young age so they don't end up with relationship difficulties later on in life.
Children that don't know how to apologize will never learn to take responsibility for their actions which can turn into job losses, ruined relationships and isolation when they grow older. Get your kids started off on the right path towards healthy relationships and communication by teaching them the power of a genuine apology.
Admitting They Are Wrong
When your child does something such as purposely break something in the home or says some hurtful words to their sibling, tell them that it is unacceptable behavior. For example, ask them if they like being called names or if they would like it if someone broke something dear to them. Most likely you will get a heartfelt "no".
Make sure they realize the result of their actions. Tell them that they hurt their sister or brother's feelings or that breaking daddy's favorite mug on purpose will make him sad. Rather than screaming, yelling and telling them off, make them aware of other peoples' feelings and how they need to respect them. You don't have to go overboard to the point of making them feel guilty for weeks on end, just be honest and direct with them and tell them that this type of behavior deserves a genuine apology.
Saying "I'm Sorry"
Now that your child has an understanding of how their negative actions can affect others, tell your child to say the words, "I'm sorry" to whoever was hurt from the damage or name calling. Mention to them that when they say the words "I'm sorry", they have to be sincere and say it with feeling.
It is very important that your child knows how to apologize effectively. The words 'I'm sorry" don't mean anything unless they show that they take responsibility and will perform an action to help mend the relationship. A proper apology looks like this. "I'm sorry I broke your favorite glass dad. (apology) I was being silly and reckless (taking responsibility) and I will do extra chores to make up for it or buy you another mug. (action promised)
Healing Takes Time
It is important that children realize that just because they apologize does not mean the person they are apologizing to will automatically be okay with everything. Mention to your child that while the apology and actions taken will help the other person heal, they may take some time before warming up to them again. This way they won't feel hurt when their best friend, peer at school or family member gives them the silent treatment for a while. Tell them that it is normal for people to take some time to heal when they have been hurt.
An apology can be an extremely powerful tool and the sooner that children can learn how to effectively apologize, the sooner they will be able to maintain strong relationships throughout their lives.