Today in our Parenting the Lazy Mom Way series, we're talking about how to teach our kids to do something we've all struggled to get them to do.... apologize.
We've all been there. Totally embarrassed when your child wouldn't apologize to another child. And that part is always difficult to teach them.
But here are a few things I've learned with my kids...
"Do to others what you would have them do to you."
Our family really strives to live by the "Do to others what you would have them do to you" golden rule. For two reasons....
First of all because Jesus says we should live this way and secondly because it is a great parenting rule! It seriously can apply to so many parenting situations. Even apologizing.
When teaching your kids how to apologize, teach them to apologize to others the way they would want to be apologized to. This may not be something toddlers will understand, but start 'em young anyway, is what I say! It's never to early to teach them even if they don't fully "get it" yet.
Role playing is another thing our family does a lot of. I've realized over the years that lots of times I say things to my kids like, "You need to apologize to your friend, so go ahead and do it..." and later I discovered they didn't even know what I meant when I said to apologize. (See our 2nd Parenting the Lazy Mom Way post for more on this).
How can I expect my kids to apologize when I ask them to if I've never taught them how to apologize? Role play with them at home. Or maybe teach them during a time when you feel they need to apologize to you. It could go something like this...
"You really hurt mommy's feelings when you did that. I need you to apologize to me. This is how you should do it...." etc.
How to Apologize
In my parenting book there are a few things I really feel a child should learn to do when they are being taught how to apologize.
- Look in the eyes. I feel very strongly that the person apologizing should look the other person in the eyes. That's something I think is very respectful and shows the other person that you are truly sorry.
- Mean it from the heart. An apology isn't really an apology when it's not done from the heart, am I right? Teach your kids how to really mean it when they apologize. One of the ways to do this is to explain to your child how the other person is feeling. For instance, "You really hurt Tommy's feelings when you hit him in the nursery. He was crying. How do you feel when someone hits you and makes you cry? How would you want someone to apologize to you when you feel that way?" This can help your child mean it more when they say "I'm sorry."
- Say "I forgive you." I've always wanted my kids to learn how to accept an apology as well. It helps "seal the deal" if you will, and makes both parties involved feel that it's officially behind them.
Read the next post in this series
Start at the beginning of this series.