Are you wondering how to get your child to apologize? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many parents complain that their children only say “sorry” only when they are being reminded of and it doesn’t feel like they really mean it. They often repeat the same mistakes over and over again and say “sorry” just for the sake of saying it.
Parents’ job is not to just correct their kid’s mistakes or behaviours but to prepare them for the future. Whatever you teach them today and help them practice, will eventually become a habit that will stay with them forever.
So if your child also refuses to apologize, here are 5 ways you can teach him to say “sorry” and mean it:
1. No lectures, please!
Children generally have a shorter attention span than adults. No matter how many times you lecture them on when and how to apologize, they will never understand. If you constantly keep advising and lecturing, they will eventually get bored and start saying “sorry” just for the sake of saying it. Scolding or repeatedly asking him to apologize is also not going to make him realize the importance of apologizing.
2. Well, she started it!
Be it due to their arrogance or fear of being punished, children never like to admit their mistakes and tries to justify their behaviour by pushing the blame onto someone else. You must already be familiar with the “it wasn’t me” or “he started it” - loop of blaming each other. Do not take sides when this happens if you really want to teach your child how to apologize. Make them realize that when there is a conflict it doesn’t matter who started it but the wise thing to do is to apologize. Encourage them by saying that it takes courage to admit a fault or mistake and that you are proud of him for apologizing.
3. Why did you do that?
Most of the time conflicts happen because of impulsive reactions or behaviours. Your child is still only learning to sort out his emotions. Help him figure out what and how he feels by asking him questions like “Why did you hit him?” or “What exactly happened?” or “Why do you think what you did is right?” Talk to him about his feelings but let him do most of the talking. Also in order to make him understand his mistakes better, ask him “How do you think it has made others feel?” or “How would you feel if this would have happened to you?” or “How does it make you feel that you have made your sister cry?” Help your child see the whole picture and realize their mistakes so that he can come up with solutions to make amends himself.
4. Be the example
Children learn from observing others around them, especially their parents. You are your child’s first teacher and friend. If you want to teach your child how to apologize, the easiest way is to be the example. Start when they are young and apologize whenever you make a mistake or hurt someone’s feelings. Make sure to apologize to your child too, so that he learns how good it feels when someone says “sorry” and really mean it.
5. Let’s not repeat that!
The reason we apologize is not only to make others feel better after our mistakes but also to take responsibility for our actions and correct it. Realizing how we have disappointed or hurt someone with our behaviour and never repeating such incidents again is the whole point of saying “sorry” to someone. It is hard for children to learn this right away, so give them some time. Help them realize their mistakes and how it affects others. Slowly your child will learn to differentiate between ‘right’ and ‘wrong, ‘good’ and ‘bad’’. He will learn to be empathic towards others and will try his best not to repeat the mistakes he had previously done.