Teaching forgiveness is usually one of the most difficult tasks for parents. And not exactly because children lack empathy, but because they apologize in ways that are unexpected and sometimes incomprehensible to adults.
Children are empathetic by nature. How many times have you seen your child cry while watching a cartoon where something sad happened? They are beings full of love and compassion towards others, but they don’t behave like us or follow socially established rules.
As parents, one of our jobs is to teach children to behave according to social norms. For this reason, in this article we will talk about how to help them apologize.
Learn to ask for forgiveness
“sorry for hitting him“, “Excuse me now and don’t talk to me like that again“, “I’m waiting for you to apologise“. Have you ever heard yourself utter one of these or similar phrases? Surely.
Sometimes words come out of our mouth without even thinking about whether they are really worth saying or not. we believe it force a child to apologize Are we teaching him to ask for forgiveness? The reality is that no. A forcibly muttered “excuse me” teaches the child nothingrather than obeying their parents.
The ultimate goal of teach to ask for forgiveness It is not making the child pronounce the expected words, but taking responsibility for his mistake and, for this, you need to understand why what you did was wrong.
1. Help your child calm down
Most times, situations for which forgiveness is needed get out of control because the child gets angry. However, demanding that you apologize right now can be counterproductive for several reasons:
- The child will not understand why you need to apologize.
- Your anger may escalate further.
- You will learn nothing from what happened.
On the contrary, take a deep breath, move closer to your child and take him away for a moment from the place where the conflict occurred. Allow your child to distance himself from the situation and calm down. You can help him by talking to him, always with patience and without expecting him to ask for forgiveness.
2. Analyze the situation with your child
When your child has calmed down, it’s time to analyze what happened. What exactly happened? Let your child tell you their side of the story and allow them to express how they feel. During conflicts emotions are very important and, in fact, they are the trigger for the child’s actions.
3. Encourage empathy to teach how to ask for forgiveness
Now that you know what happened and why your child reacted that way, ask him how he would have felt in the place of the other child. You can even remind him of a similar situation he experienced. The idea is for your child to put himself in his friend’s shoes so that he understands what his mistake was.
4. Think with your child what they would change if they could
Ask your child the following question: “If you could go back in time, what would you change about what happened?” This exercise allows your child to think of other ways to resolve the conflict. Although it is true that this brainstorming will not solve the current situation, It’s a good way to learn how to manage emotions for the future.
5. Ask how you can make the other child feel better.
An important aspect that we often forget is to lead by example. Through observation, children learn the actions of their referents.
Let your child choose how to apologize. Saying “I’m sorry” is sometimes not what kids need or want. Maybe your little one prefers to hug him, invite him to play with him or give him a drawing. The important thing here is that the child somehow learns to take responsibility for his actions.
A good apology should express what the child is apologizing for., not only for taking action, but also for hurting feelings and suggesting a way to fix the problem. For example: “I’m sorry I hit you, I know it hurt you and I won’t do it again. Next time I’m angry, I’ll try to talk to you instead of hitting you.”
Finally, To teach your children to ask for forgiveness, you have to lead by example! Whenever you make a mistake or react badly, it’s essential that you ask for forgiveness. Apologizing is not a weakness but a strength. As parents, we must teach by example because children learn by what we do.
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