How can I get her to apologize?
ANSWER: This might sound a little bizarre to you at first - but perhaps she didn’t say that she was sorry because she wasn’t. Sometimes the honesty of young children is a brutal force. And sometimes they just don’t understand that there is something to be sorry about. While wedo want children to learn and practice social etiquette, we also want them to be in touch with their feelings and to have their actions reflect those feelings.
There is a big difference between teaching children to say please and thank you, etc. – and teaching/making them say “I’m sorry”. Making children say: “I’m sorry” when they clearly arenot sorry, is teaching them to lie and be manipulative. A true apology is a great opportunity to learn about mistakes, learn about a better choice, and also to respect the feelings of the offended person. When we encourage the perfunctory and meaningless “I’m sorry”, we have missed an important teaching moment.
Young children learn much more effectively by imitating our actions than they do by listening to our words. Think about it. Have you ever heard yourself say: “How many times have I told you……….?” But then, just make one slip of the tongue with a cuss word - they’re all over it. They own that word now.
If you want to teach your child to apologize in a meaningful way, model the behavior you want to see. The next time you make a mistake and feel a need to apologize, do it thoughtfully. Say how you could have done (whatever) in a different/better way. Apologize with sincerity. The next time your child hurts someone you could model the apology. You could say something like: “I’m so sorry that Sally pushed you and you fell and hurt your knee. Next time I’m sure that she will ask you to move. Would you like a hug?”
Most young children truly do not understand how their actions affect others. We need to show/teach them. In this way, they will understand feelings, and then they will be able to apologize with sincerity. And if they don’t, we need to investigate further to find out why. But making them say empty words is not the solution.
If you are interested in learning more about Positive Parenting (and topics such as the above), please contact me for info on my next workshop. My phone number is 769-7921 and email address is email@example.com. You are most welcome to send questions and comments also