Sunday, March 24, 2013

To Apologize or Not to Apologize?

The other day a mom was telling me about how her little girl hit another girl at a birthday party. The mom was frustrated because it took a long time to get her daughter to apologize, and then when she finally did, her apology wasn't sincere at all. She wanted to know how to get her daughter to really feel sorry.

This happens all the time, where a child does something wrong and parents make their child apologize. Of course we want our children to feel remorse when they've done something wrong, but asking our child to apologize actually doesn't achieve that.  In fact, when we ask our child to apologize, most of the time we're asking her to lie. That's because she's probably not feeling sorry at that moment. She's still angry about whatever caused her to hit. So it's actually best not to ask her to apologize at that moment. If you feel like an apology is necessary because you're feeling embarrassed about the behavior, then you can do it, and that will set a good example.

The best way to teach empathy is with the consequence we call an 'action replay'. Wait until she's calmed down and then have her do the scenario over again, where she practices responding in a more positive way. The more you have her practice doing it right instead of making her apologize, the sooner she'll be willing to apologize because she actually feels sorry!

Laura Runnels Fleming  (see profile below)
Pasadena, CA


  1. Always appreciate your articles. Thanks so much for all of the tips.

  2. That's a good idea, thank you! I started with making my children say sorry but now I'm going to try your technique.
    I bought a perfect pack'n'play I chose on Sophie van der Linden's blog, but when our second child came in, we decided not to buy the second one.
    Now the older kid is constantly fighting the young one for a place to play toys (it's way too big for him anyway), and I'm desperately trying to make him at least feel sorry :)

  3. It’s Really Nice and informative blog. Learn How to improve your Child skills.
    Parenting skills checklist
    Life Skills in kids
    How to Discipline a Child

  4. Great Post ! I am very impressed to see it, whole blog is informative. I also want to provide a technical guidance, if you are not able to install Norton And Mcafee Antivirus properly on the system. Just dial Norton Product Key,,, Toll free Number - +1-877-301-0214 to get instant solution.