Sometimes we make such a colossal mistake in our lives that it’s hard to see how on earth we could fix the damage. It can feel like a dark hole you will never climb out of. But there is one way… by saying you’re sorry.
But just saying “sorry” isn’t enough! It’s important to teach your child the complete way of how to say sorry with a complete apology and meaning it.
Teach Your Child How to Say Sorry
As a former public relations professional, I used to work with companies that sometimes made blunders, mistakes and downright idiotic choices. And the professional advice I gave them is the exact same advice I give my own children (and myself) – say you’re sorry and really mean it.
So often, people want to hide from their mistakes, but that is one of the worst things you can do. Hiding doesn’t solve anything, and often the silence is taken as a lack of remorse and respect for the other person. Even worse, silence easily breeds even more hurt feelings, anger and contempt.
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As parents, our job isn’t just to teach our children how to treat others right. It’s also to teach our children how to behave when they don’t. I try to teach my children to say they’re sorry. But forcing a child to say the words “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean they actually believe the meaning. How can you help your child learn the true meaning of sorry?
1. Don’t have them just say they are sorry. Have them say what they are specifically sorry for. (Example: I’m sorry I pulled your hair and screamed at you.)
2. Have them say out loud how their actions must have made the other person feel. (Example: That must have hurt. And my screaming at you must have been very scary.)
3. Have them say what they will do differently next time. (Example: Next time, I will remind you with my words that it’s my turn to have the doll.)
4. Have them ask if the other child will accept their apology. If the other child says yes, they usually move on. If the other child says no, have your child ask how they can make things better. It’s also okay to explain that the child may still have hurt feelings and that we should respect that.
For younger children, feel free to prompt them with questions, such as “How do you think that made Julie feel?” or “If someone did that to you, how would that make you feel?”
The fact is we all make blunders. Some are small. Others are major doozies. The difference is how we own our mistakes after they happen and try to repair the damage caused.
For some good reading about how to apologize with your kids, consider the following affiliate links: