Teaching Young Children to Say Sorry and Really Mean It

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Dollarphotoclub_54661403I remember one sunny afternoon when my daughter was playing tag with a group of children. Suddenly, she ran into her friend. They both startled and fell to the ground.  My daughter rolled over and offered her friend a smile and her hand so they could both get up. They looked at each other, giggled and then kept on playing. Nobody said sorry, and that was totally ok!

I am Sorry.

Three little words we want our children to say when they have hurt a friend or made a mistake. It’s just three little words.  But should we insist on hearing it if they make a mistake or hurt a friend? Teaching children to say sorry and really mean it sometimes is not so much about those three little words.

The actual feeling of remorse and a genuine willingness to make amends is much more than words.  Children are born with the capacity for empathy, understanding and love.  It is how to navigate social norms and how to meet  parental expectations surrounding apologies that isn’t always clear. So how do we teach our children to say sorry and really mean it?

As parents we could simply insist our child apologize whenever they make a mistake. The problem is that insisting on apologies doesn’t actually help our child understand what remorse and making amends is truly all about. When it comes to apologies and making amends, not rushing,  but instead offering positive guidance is what helps children really learn.

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