Reprimanding your kids is something that most parents hate doing. It’s part of the dirty work of parenting. While it isn’t any fun being the bad guy or the strict disciplinarian, it’s necessary.
Part of reprimanding your kids is teaching them to say sorry. With your guidance, kids understand the difference between right and wrong, but sometimes it can be difficult for them to express how sorry they are. You might find that kids aren’t truly grasping why they are saying sorry which can result in spurious or fake apology to get out of trouble.
Obviously, you want your kids to understand the value of acknowledging a mistake or misconduct and owning up to it through a well executed apology. But simply forcing them to utter the words “I’m sorry”, isn’t always an effective way to do so.
That’s why you should try implementing these simple tactics in order to help your kids give genuine apologies.
Understand why kids are apprehensive to give an apology
Typically, kids feel as though the reason they are in trouble may not be entirely their fault. It’s difficult for kids to take sole responsibility for their actions and they will resist blame in many cases. Another reason kids struggle to give apologies is that they may feel that their actions now label them as a “bad kid”. Or even that you might not love them as much anymore. Help your child to know that it’s okay to make mistakes, but you must learn from your actions. If they can easily conceptualize that, they may be more likely to apologize in the future.
Let your kid take a moment to cool off
Just like us adults, children act impulsively or rash in the heat of the moment. If you want your child to genuinely apologize for something, then they may require a moment to reflect, or even to cool off. Don’t force your child to say sorry immediately if they won’t mean it. Isolate them from the situation, make sure they’re in a more collected state of mind, and then let them apologize. You’ll see that they’ll mean what they are saying when they’ve had a little time to themselves.
Talk to your kids about their behavior
Once your kid has apologized sincerely, it’s time to talk to them about their behavior. Help them to express and communicate why they acted up, and teach them why they need to apologize. It’s important that they learn from mistakes, but it’s also important that they learn why they are saying sorry to someone. This can help promote empathetic behavior in the future, as well understanding the importance of a genuine apology.
Fixing the situation
An apology isn’t always sufficient. Kids need to know that simply saying words, genuine or otherwise, may not be enough. Especially when we make big mistakes. That’s why you need to teach your child how to patch up and fix certain situations. For example, if your child were to accidentally break a sibling’s or friend’s toy, ask them how they can make it up to them. How will they make amends? Teach them that the first step to a genuine apology may be through constructive words, but is shortly followed by compassionate actions.
Set an example
Children are incredibly impressionable. One of the most effective and important ways to teach them how to give genuine apologies is to set an example. Be apologetic to others around you. For example, if you and your partner have a small verbal argument, lead by example and apologize in a positive and sincere way. Teach your children about sincere apologies through your own actions and soon they will be following in your footsteps.
READ: 5 Tips for raising empathetic children
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