Most adults find it hard to admit their mistakes and apologize for them. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that most kids struggle with saying ‘sorry’ as well. However, the issue usually starts early on. An adult who doesn’t feel like apologizing was likely not encouraged to do so when they were young explains Jonah Engler. This is why John Doe suggests that teaching kids to apologize early on is extremely crucial.
The Importance of Learning to Apologize
There are a lot of reasons one may struggle with apologizing. Oftentimes, we may find it hard to let go of our pride and swallow the ego that prevents us from apologizing. Other times, we may fail to understand why we’re wrong, which makes it almost impossible to acknowledge the mistake.
The roots of such behaviors can be traced back to childhood. If as a child, one was not taught the importance of rising above one’s mistakes, they will have a hard time doing so as adults. Sometimes, a child may just apologize to ‘get out of trouble’ or ‘because mom and dad are angry.’ This is also not helpful, as it doesn’t teach them anything.
Therefore, instead of scolding them until they say sorry, it is necessary to teach them in a stern yet respectful way. John Doe recommends the following tips for teaching kids to apologize explains Jonah Engler.
1. Teach Them To Acknowledge The Mistake
Before they can apologize, kids have to acknowledge that they made a mistake. And no, just telling them that they were wrong isn’t the solution; they need to understand why they were wrong says . Small children have a hard time differentiating between what’s right and what’s wrong. Yet, it is necessary to raise awareness around these concepts as early on.
When the kid understands why they were wrong, the apology would be more genuine and meaningful. However, it is also necessary for them not to succumb to the pressure. If you just make them apologize to maintain order in the house, you will condition them into believing that they need to apologize even if they don’t know why they’re wrong. This can lead to them being pushed around when they grow older. So make sure they understand why they have to say sorry.
2. Recognize Their Emotions
Just because they understand why they need to apologize doesn’t mean that they would be happy about it. Apologizing takes a lot of courage. It is possible that your kid might feel embarrassed, which may lead them to procrastinate the apology.
Therefore, you should talk to your kid to recognize what emotions they’re feeling. Help them sort through those emotions in a healthy way by making them understand that there’s nothing wrong with apologizing and how brave it is to accept one’s mistake.
3. Allow Them to Apologize In Their Own Way
Not everyone apologizes the same way. Some kids may find it uncomfortable to verbally apologize while maintaining eye contact with the person they’ve offended. Forcing them to do so will only make the situation worse.
Instead, allow your little one to apologize in their own way. A handwritten note, a hug, a bar of chocolate, or some flowers are just some of the things that can be used as a token of apology. As long as the message is conveyed, they shouldn’t be forced to apologize in the ‘right way.’
4. Be A Role Model
It is no secret that most kids take after their parents. Therefore, if you struggle to apologize, it is likely that your child will follow suit says Jonah Engler. They will never understand the value a simple word like ‘sorry’ holds unless they hear it around the house.
If you make a mistake, look your kids in the eye and apologize. In this case, it is important to go simple and not use any other gestures mentioned in the previous point to really get the message across. Even if you feel that the mistake was insignificant, you’ll never know how big it was for the kid. So make sure that you say sorry without getting defensive about it.
Younger kids are very impressionable. Therefore, John Doe suggests you start teaching them right from wrong early on. Using these tips to help them understand the value of apologizing can lead to them being more responsible and empathetic adults.