When your child learns to issue an apology at a very young age, it seems to come as second nature. It tends to be a lot less stressful for people to apologize for something they’ve done when the apology doesn’t have to be forced out of them. Here are 7 ways to teach your child to apologize and hopefully make it a less painful and more natural experience.
7. Set a Good Example
Apologize when you are wrong. No matter how trivial you think the incident was, apologize so your child can see that this is a polite thing to do. If your child looks confused or asks why you are apologizing, be sure to let him know why. Explain the situation as best as possible and in appropriate terms for his age and then tell him why you felt the need to apologize. This will help him understand when an apology might be necessary.
6. Teach Him Right from Wrong at a Young Age
Good morals tend to make it more natural for an apology to be given when needed, which sort of falls under the ‘Golden Rule’ aspect of life. Teaching your child appropriate behavior while he’s very young should help him establish a sense of right and wrong. This is most likely going to cause him to want to apologize for his behavior automatically, due to the grief he feels he caused another person.
5. Take the Lead if Need Be
You might have to coax your child into apologizing. Don’t force him, but instead get him started on what to say in his apology. If he isn’t sure what to say or how to go about saying it, give him some options for the first few words and let him take it from there. You could also take him aside and help him think of what needs to be said so he feels more in control of issuing the apology on his own.
4. Teach Him to Put Meaning behind the Apology
Children need to learn that there is more to an apology than simply going through the motions. An apology has specific words that need to be included in it, but there has to be feeling behind these words. It can be difficult for very small children to apologize from the heart. Hopefully they will learn with time that an apology is better accepted and means more when the person apologizing is truly being sincere.
3. Go through the Steps of Issuing an Apology
It is helpful to your child if you explain how an apology should be made before he ever has to give one. A few steps I feel should be included when apologizing are; personally confronting the individual who should be apologized to, making good eye contact, speaking clearly, and being sincere. You can alter those as you see fit or add in extra steps too.
2. Help Your Child Learn when an Apology is Necessary
You might try quizzing your child to see if he can tell you when an apology might be needed. Give him some hypothetical situations and see if he’s able to identify the ones where one person or both people involved should apologize.
1. Demonstrate How to Accept Responsibility
Teach him to use ‘I’ statements. For example, if your child says, “The dog came in and got mud all over the floor” and you know it was your child who let the dog in, you might need to help him out with accepting responsibility for his actions. This would then change the statement to “I let the dog in and he got mud all over the floor” which should be followed by an apology.
I hope these 7 ways to teach your child to apologize are ones you can use or adjust to help your child. Have you already tried similar methods? What were the results?
Top Photo Credit: Leonid Mamchenkov