Teach our children to apologize and say sorry, it may seem simple, but teaching how to say I'm sorry goes beyond words, it involves developing empathy and feeling that I'm sorry.
On many occasions, we force children to apologize and ask for forgiveness, but we see how they say I feel it reluctantly, as a conditioned response, without a true understanding of the nature of the apology.
What happens when we force the child to say sorry?
When we force the child to apologize, we get it done quickly and accurately, almost automatically. But those words, in most cases, are empty of emotional meaning.
When we force the child, to say sorry, we are not teaching him the meaning of those words, let alone help him to put himself in the place of the other. The apology starts with empathy when we put ourselves in the place of the other, and we know how it feels, we can say a real sorry and goes beyond the words providing emotional support to the other person.
So by forcing the child to say sorry, we get an automatic response, but we are not developing their empathy or social skills. Children learn to say sorry as a way to fix their mistake and avoid a scolding or punishment. And in most cases, they have not put themselves in the place of the other, and in many cases, they do not know what the words sorry mean, more than a way to save them from a negative consequence.
How can we teach the child to say sorry?
1. It is important to go beyond words. The words are the least, forget the words you have to say and focus on understanding the meaning of the apology, and leave aside the saying sorry.
2. Before forcing him to apologize, allow him some time to reflect on what he has done. In many occasions, the time to apologize is full of high emotional tension, since before there has been a conflict. It is important to leave time for reflection and relaxation, before saying sorry.
3. Help him develop his empathy and understand the consequences of his actions, for this instead of asking the child to apologize quickly, teach him/her to ask "Are you okay? Can I help you with something? Can I do something to make you feel better? Do you need a hug? Etc ... in this way when asking the other, they leave aside their selfishness and are able to put themselves in the place of the other.
4. Use an informative and educational tone when you teach them how to say sorry, avoid the punitive tone and punishments, if you do so the child will learn to say I feel them avoid punishment.
5. Teach them also to accept the apologies and to thank when someone else tells them I'm sorry. The apology has a meaning and the situation is resolved when the other accepts the apology and thanks to them.
In the picture: Me & my little one🙈
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