My kid won’t say “I am sorry”

Sigh! This is my present predicament.  We are at that phase where my child is playing with both me and my husband and she says something we do not want her to say and she doesn't feel the need to apologise for it.

I love my kid. She is adorable. She is also very lovable. However, this is something that she does that absolutely sets me off.

Because it bothers me so much, I started to ask people who have gone ahead of me. I also began to read extensively on it. And here are the consensus on the best ways to handle that situation;

Do not force it - Oftentimes when we badger our kids to say sorry, they are confused at why that is necessary. Especially, because they have not seen anything wrong in what they did. So, instead they go quiet, stare at you or burst out crying. Instead of forcing them to say sorry, we should rather tell them what they did wrong and ask how they feel about it (if they are at that age where they can process what they have done). If not, still let them know what they have done and why it is wrong. We wouldn’t also want them to say something that they don’t mean, right?

Model what you want them to do - This applies to everything. If we want our kids to apologise to us, we would have to apologise to them when we have done something wrong to them. And that’s not only by calling them to come and eat, buying them something nice or just rubbing their head. We have to get comfortable with actually saying the words, “I am sorry” to our kids when we have done something wrong to them. It also means that we would have to apologise on their behalf to whoever they have wronged, right in their presence. That’s right, if my kid would not say “sorry” for something she has done wrong, I will make her watch while I apologise on her behalf. What we do makes more of an impression on our kids than what we say. If we want them to catch on quickly, we will have to model it.
We can also give them an opportunity to make amends - They may not say “sorry” with words, but maybe they can express it in another way. Perhaps, they want to make something for the person they have wronged or help that person with something else. That’s a good way for them to act sorry and hopefully, when they present whatever they made or while helping the person, a conversation between them both can lead to actually saying the words, “I am sorry.”

Let’s not forget that our kids are still growing. Their level of empathy (also known as Theory of Mind) is not fully formed yet (especially before 5 years). So, we will need to cut them some slacks while we continue to model the behaviours we want to see, reiterate our love for them no matter what and keep on talking to them about these things.

It will eventually pay off.

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