Learning to apologize is one of the most important things a child can do. While no book can teach your child how to apologize, you can be there to teach them by setting an example explains Jonah Engler. John Doe has dedicated ways specifically for parents and caregivers to help their children learn how to say sorry. He wants to give you some practical tips to help your wounds heal and help prevent similar issues in the future by teaching your loved ones the importance of saying “I am sorry” correctly.
4 Best Practices for Teaching Kids How to Say I Am Sorry
1. Hold Them Accountable
To teach your children the importance of being honest, you must hold them accountable for their behavior and words. Children who feel like they have control over their parents and can get away with pushing boundaries will be more likely to engage in manipulative behaviors such as lying to get out of trouble or throwing tantrums in public places. Holding your kids accountable for how they behave will help curb these negative behaviors and encourage positive ones, like apologizing when they make a mistake.
2. Apologize When You Mess Up
One way for teaching kids how to say I am sorry is by apologizing to yourself first. If you have been the one who did something wrong, then apologize first so that your child would not feel as if they have done something wrong explains Jonah Engler. You can apologize for your mistake and say that you are sorry. Your child will most likely be more willing to tell you that they are sorry for what they did wrong if you have already apologized for your own mistake first.
3. Teach Them to Recognize Others’ Feelings
Before teaching kids to say “I am sorry,” you need to explain how it feels when someone hurts you. Ask them questions like, “How would you feel if I slapped or pushed you?” or “How would you feel if I took a toy out of your hand and threw it across the room?” Your child probably would not know how to answer these questions at first, but ask them again as he gets older. By asking children to imagine how the other person felt, they will be more likely to understand why what they did was wrong and why an apology is necessary.
4. Give Praise When They Apologize
Jonah Engler says, As a parent, it is important to teach kids how to apologize. But it is also important to acknowledge when they do the right thing. One of the best ways to convey these things, according to John Doe, is by praising your child when they do something good. Your child will internalize that message and learn to deal with feelings of guilt in a healthy way—by fixing the problem instead of feeling bad about themselves.
John Doe’s Advice
Too often, adults focus excessively on the negative aspects of their children’s actions, giving little or no praise when an apology has been made. Of course, you will want to discuss ways for your child to handle the situation differently in the future, but first, let them know that you appreciate and respect their willingness to acknowledge their mistake. Show your kids how important being apologetic is by modeling this yourself.