When children do something wrong, parents expect an apology.
Children often say “I’m sorry” with words. However, right after that, they act as if nothing had happened to them.
Moreover, in some cases, they do the same bad things over and over again.
That is why parents sometimes have doubts about whether children are really apologizing or just saying sorry insincerely.
So, how can we make children understand that they should apologize when they do something wrong?
When do parents think that children say, “I’m sorry” insincerely?
Children apologize, but they repeat the same actions.
As soon as children are scolded, they apologize by saying “I’m sorry.” However, they tend to repeat the same actions.
From the point of view of parents, it seems that they are just saying the words and are not apologizing sincerely.
In this case, children might not understand that what they have done was really wrong.
Children apologize just to get out of a difficult situation.
In some cases where children apologize to get out of the current situation just because they do not want to get scolded or they are just scared of being scolded.
This is a child’s clever way to protect themselves from being scolded.
Children apologize just to butter up parents.
Children often try to read their parents’ mind or butter up their parents by saying, “I’m sorry”.
Even though they did not do anything wrong, they tend to act in that way because they are scared to offend their parents.
In cases where children always look timid because they have been anxious or nervous about being scolded by parents, being scolded could be one of the stresses to children.
Parents force children to apologize.
When children are forced to apologize by saying something like, “Say you’re sorry”, they have no choice but to say sorry regardless of their own will.
When parents force them to apologize, they will lose the opportunity to think by themselves why they should apologize or what was wrong.
So, how can we make them understand properly what was wrong?
To make children understand what was wrong
Listen to children
If parents never give children a chance and say something like, “That’s not good” “Say you’re sorry”, children cannot learn to reflect their behavior.
So, the first thing that parents should do is listening to their children, asking questions such as what happened, why they did it.
Once children have their parents’ attention and feel at ease, they can easily accept their parents’ words.
Tell children with short and simple words
Children do not have enough skill to distinguish good or bad things, therefore, it is necessary for parents to teach them what was wrong.
When parents explain what was wrong to children, short and simple words should be used as much as possible. Moreover, it would be more effective to tell children what kind of behavior makes parents feel a certain way.
For example, it would be good to express mom’s feelings with something like “When you hit me, mommy will get hurt.” “When you call me stupid, I feel sad.”
In this way, children can understand that they hurt mom or they make her sad, therefore, they will become able to apologize naturally.
That would be more understandable for children why their behavior was wrong than being scolded by parents something like “Hitting is not good!” “You cannot say stupid to someone else.”
Many people believe that children are too young to understand what parents say, however, children actually can understand a parents’ feeling if parents use simple words and speak calmly.
Parents should avoid speaking one-sidedly and always try to listen to children. Talking to each other would be the best way.
Source: Maiko Sato – World Mommy