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"Say you're sorry." - Page 2

post #21 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by prettypixels View Post
Learning to vocalize remorse is a part of living in our society. It's courteous to apologize when you've done something wrong to someone; actions should match the sentiment, but in our society (American, that is, for me at least) saying "I'm sorry" seals the deal.

I do tell my daughter to say "sorry," but she is only 2 and is just learning that if you do something you *tell* the person that you feel sorry as well as come give them a big hug and a kiss. All I can tell you is that when she wonks me in the head with a board book, it DOES make me feel better to have her say that she is sorry and come give me a hug.

All the same I'm not going to "shame" my daughter into it or demand an apology in front of people while she squirms. Like most things, there is a middle road here.
But why force it, if in the end it will make them uncomfortable or feel like they are not really verbalizing their feelings?

We don't force apologies because we want her to understand that "I'm sorry" should actually mean you are sorry.

Someone telling me they are sorry when they aren't doesn't make me feel better. It just makes me feel uncomfortable.
post #22 of 97
We just say "Oliver, is there something you'd like to say to your sister/friend/etc?" He's only a little over 2 so he doesn't really get it but usually says it. I always apologize to the person though to set an example and because I am truly sorry that he/she got hurt.
post #23 of 97
i don't force apologies, but my kids are really good about apologizing now. my son sometimes needs a little more time to cool down, but he will always make-up with me and say sorry once he's had time to calm down and process it. my dh used to try and force apologies. he doesn't anymore though. he now recognizes a genuine apology is heartfelt & sincere. i think forcing an apology misses out on the opportunity of being able to process what happened and feeling remorse over it, and then being able to make amends for it. to force "sorry" creates a power struggle and a diversion from the reason behind the apology needed to begin with (imho). honestly, i think some adults have pride issues with saying "sorry" because they never learned how. i would rather a genuine apology any day over someone saying it because they "had to". when my kids were smaller, i always apologized on their behalf if necessary though.
post #24 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Someone telling me they are sorry when they aren't doesn't make me feel better. It just makes me feel uncomfortable.
Someone NOT saying they are sorry when they are clearly in the wrong pisses me off. I'd rather have them fake remorse than not even bother to fake it. Obviously, true remorse is best (and I am not saying that fake remorse isn't also insulting), but sometimes you gotta fake it until you make it, ya know?

My concern for my kids is that not only do they learn core ethics about respectful treatment of others, but they also learn societal expectations and rules so that their actions won't be misinterpreted.

Now, of course the apology is not the end of the matter. As PPs have pointed out, if the apology is the "get out of jail card" then clearly, it is a pointless exercise. Remorse without restitution is meaningless. And restitution requires empathy.

So a big part of any apology has to be a method of attempting to make things right - a hug or an ice pack are great. Sometimes the restitution IS the apology - but I find that words are useful because they are more easily understood.

And of course, different ages are capable of different levels of empathy - and different children are capable of different levels of empathy as well. When I tell my 3 year old to apologize and to find a way to make it better, I am not expecting that he has the empathy to truly be remorseful right now, but I am trying to build up good habits so that when he does make an error in the future, he knows that he needs to express remorse, and then find a way to make it better.

And instructing a child to apologize does not need to be shameful - we often role play different interactions during quiet times so that my kids have words to use in emotionally charged situations - like when another child has hurt them and refuses to stop, or when my kids realize they have hurt someone.

Also as pp's have mentioned, dh and I model apologies with our kids and with other adults. So they see it as a normal form of human interaction. I do prompt them for an apology and make a recommendation for restitution as appropriate, just as I prompt them to use their tissue and not their sleeve, or to use please and thank you.

My 2 cents.

ETA: one element in my approach is the fact that my oldest has not great social skills - it takes him a looooooooonnnnnnnnggggg time to pick up on social mores that other children his age notice easily. So with him, we need to be a lot more explicit about social expectations because he just won't pick them up on his own - at least not until it is too late and he has lost friends. My second son absorbs social rules from the air, I swear. I don't need to be so explicit with him because he can watch the other person's face and body language and figure out what to say/do to make them happy.
post #25 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by robingrant View Post
Btw.... my husband's parents NEVER made him apologize for anything no matter how wrong he was, and they never apologized for anything to him. As an adult, he now acknowledges how hard it is for him to admit that he is wrong, and he really appreciates that we are taking a different approach with our boys.

i really think the issue here is that his parents never modeled it for him. parents need to be comfortable saying "i'm sorry", "i was wrong". "i made a mistake". and they need to know how to ask for forgiveness. it's so important to model this behavior.

also, not forcing an apology doesn't mean ignoring the issue that took place. it just means you can discuss what happened openly & definitely express parental perspective of what happened (my kids still have logical consequences for ill behavior, yk?). but if your child doesn't want to make amends through an apology, you simply don't force them too.
post #26 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubergine68 View Post
Oh, that's very kind of you to say -- (sincere) thanks for using your 2000th post to express this opinion...and congrats on hitting the big 2-0-0-0!
I meant it!

I didn't realize I had reached the 2000....:
post #27 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Um, no... He's unable to see the "I'm sorry" as an acceptable thing. He often choose actions to show he's sorry then words. Unfortunatly many people misconstrue this as being rude or unable to admit he was wrong.

To him "I'm sorry" doesn't mean "I'm sorry". It means "I'm not sorry and I just want you to shut up about it!" because that's what he learned from being forced to apologize. You do it to get others off your back, not because your actually sorry.

That being said, he also has trouble accepting apologies for the same reason. Even if they are genuine, in his mind there's the "training" he recieve that's telling him "Is this person really sorry? Or are they just trying to avoid making amends for what they did."
What actions? Yes, it is rude not to verbally admit when you are wrong.

Seriously, I can't imagine being so traumatized by a forced apology in childhood, as to not understand, as an adult, that saying "I'm sorry" can ACTUALLY mean, "I'm sorry".
post #28 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
What actions? Yes, it is rude not to verbally admit when you are wrong.

Seriously, I can't imagine being so traumatized by a forced apology in childhood, as to not understand, as an adult, that saying "I'm sorry" can ACTUALLY mean, "I'm sorry".
What do you mean what actions? Actions that make it better, or show he didn't mean it/regrets it.

If you're made to say "I'm sorry" because "It's the polite thing to do". Then you learn you only say it to be polite... .
post #29 of 97
I mean, what actions?

I think that people are smarter than dogs, so I don't buy into the whole "training" diatribe.
post #30 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
I mean, what actions?

I think that people are smarter than dogs, so I don't buy into the whole "training" diatribe.
It's the same idea behind parents passing on bigoted ideas. It's what the kid sees and experiences most of the time so that's how they interpret. It's not a particularly complex idea.

If you accidentally wack someone on the head with a book are you just going to sit there saying "I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to"?
post #31 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
It's the same idea behind parents passing on bigoted ideas. It's what the kid sees and experiences most of the time so that's how they interpret. It's not a particularly complex idea.

If you accidentally wack someone on the head with a book are you just going to sit there saying "I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to"?
No, it's not complex, at all.

But, yeah, if I accidentally hit someone, I will say, I'm sorry. I guess I'm missing your point?
post #32 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
No, it's not complex, at all.

But, yeah, if I accidentally hit someone, I will say, I'm sorry. I guess I'm missing your point?
Do you only say your sorry? Or do you actually try to help them out?

I'd rather have the help and not the apology then the apology and not the help.
post #33 of 97
I never force my kids to apologise. I don't believe there's any value to it. True apologies come from within.
post #34 of 97
I just found this thread! Will have to go back and read thru everything. I was just having a discussion about apologizing and what that means. While I apologize, I do not "make" my children do so. I want to set an example by showing that if I've made a mistake I will apologize and to demonstrate that concept further, I will verbally explain why I was wrong. I want my children to pick up on this!
post #35 of 97
Well, I guess I am one of those people who force my own expectations of behavior onto my children, because when they do something that hurts others I ask them to apologize in some form and model it for them if they are unable or unwilling to do so at the moment, depending upon their age. The person who was hurt/interrupted/whatever deserves the respect of an acknowledgement.

It might not "mean" anything to a two year old, but if I waited until he was old enough to fully understand a concept before introducing it then he'd be missing out on most of his life experiences at this point. I don't demand my DS say "I'm sorry," and wait as long as it takes to force him to do so, but I DO say things like "Uh oh...did you just hit your sister? That's not a very kind thing to do and that hurts her. Can you please tell her you are sorry or give her a hug to make her feel better?" If he does, great. If not, a seed has been planted: Your actions hurt someone, it made them feel bad, you should attempt to make them feel better with words or actions because it is the kind and human thing to do.

Heck, we just got back from visiting my dad who has dogs...DS was petting a dog and then decided to whack her on the head. I told him that it was not ok to hit her because it hurts her and makes her feel sad. I then asked him to please give her a hug or say he is sorry for hitting her. Left to his own choices it probably would not occur to him to even stop hitting the dog, most less realize it hurts her or apologize for his actions. Which is why, as the adult, I feel it is my job to guide him and teach him during those moments until he is capable of doing so on his own.
post #36 of 97
I don't think force apology and bad parenting go hand in hand. Apology policies are personal choices parents make for personal reasons. I don't personally believe in forced apology though I do believe in apologizing for dd and modeling manners in general. I don't think it is bad parenting to push a child to apologize though. I have also talked to her about why we apologize and now that she is older I prompt her to find a way to make amends. When I think of bad parenting I think of people who deliberately hurt their child in some way, not people who try to teach their child manners.
post #37 of 97
Do you think opinions on this probably boil down to those who are more "consensual living" and those who are not so much so? I mean, so much of what I've read about non-hierarchical child raising seems to involve allowing the child to express themselves as they please, and only interfering if harm will ensue- with the idea that if they are allowed to express what they feel, it won't be repressed and come back to bite them in the butt later.

I guess I can see some of that, but I also think young kids are actively looking for a role model, a guide. I am acutely sensing that life is a dance between expansion and contraction, from the breathing of our lungs and beating of our hearts to the clenching and relaxing of our muscles when we are tense... I see the principle of expansion and contraction happening continuously in relationships, and my kids emotionally contract into themselves when there is tension and need some help expanding back out into the realm of "others"; they are self-conscious and very aware of the feelings they have which prompted them to commit a rude or hurtful act, and are still processing those feelings; and yet, they have "others-consciousness" that the other person is feeling offended and they want to create a bridge back to fellowship. I definately prompt them to create that bridge with the words "I'm sorry", but I don't force the timing. I feel that if they are not ready to reach out to others and form that bridge- they are not ready to resume interacting because they have not finished the contraction aspect and are still needing to experience themselves more fully before they are ready to continue experiencing, or interacting with, others.

One thing I love is when someone in the family gets hurt accidentally with no one "at fault", the children imitate my example and will come up and say "I'm sorry!", to express a sympathy that someone is hurting. It feels so comforting to have a 2 yr old come up to you and say "I'm sorry" when you've stubbed your toe!
post #38 of 97
I teach "I'm sorry" in the same way I teach "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me". It's a basic social behavior that keeps people from alienating each other.

In my opinion it is an issue of manners, and generally doesn't take the place of empathy or kindness.

EDIT: but of course it's more a manner of modeling and practicing and reminding than it is of shaming or "forcing".
post #39 of 97
"I'd rather have the help and not the apology then the apology and not the help. "

I don't see it as an either/or situation.
post #40 of 97
I can't really say I force ds to apologize. He's strong willed and generally reacts terribly to being forced to do anything. But I do make it clear that he has done something to hurt someone else, that it wasn't right and I apologize on his behalf. I make it a habit of apologizing when I do something hurtful accidentally or even on purpose. And I notice these days that he will apologize to his little brother with no prompting from me and even do things to try to fix the situation. In this case, I have to agree with some pp, modeling is the best way to go at it.
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