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"Tell her you're sorry." - Page 2

post #21 of 27
We see a differencee between apologizing and being sorry.

I apologize to someone when I have done something they find hurtful, yet I don't. I apologize because I have hurt their feelings, not because I feel sad that I did.

I say I am sorry when I hurt someone's feelings, and I am truley remorseful for doing so. When I hurt someone and didn't mean to.

Does that make sense?

We haven't taught Kailey to say sorry, because, IMO, it would just be an easy out. Instead we let her know something hurt, and give her an alternative action.

Ex:

Out of frustration Kailey hit me the other day.

I said, "Kailey, that hurts when you hit. It's ok to use soft touches and hugs, and to use your big girl words. It's not ok to hurt others." While I am explaining this I demonstrate behavior I would prefer her use.

I would prefer she hug someone she has hurt than to blurt out she's sorry.

I hope I've made sense. It looks so much better in person
post #22 of 27
This is a very interesting topic!

I never did much prompting of "I'm sorry" with my dd when she was a toddler, because it just didn't sit right with me. I felt that she didn't understand it anyway, and I didn't want her to think that two words could excuse any behavior. Also, and I swear this is true, she really didn't do much that required apologies at that age. She never grabbed toys or hit or pushed, and she wasn't destructive. She never threw tantrums because she was verbally advanced, so the frustration thing wasn't a factor. Now, at age four, she does PLENTY to be sorry about and she usually apologizes on her own, and it is completely sincere. I guess she just learned it from modeling by myself and dh. We never hesitate to apologize to her when we have lost our tempers or accidentally hurt her or anything like that.

That said, I think it is okay for people to teach children to say "I'm sorry," as long as they are also helping the child develop a sense of empathy at the same time. Sadly, I know way too many kids who just blurt out a rote "I'm sorry" but it is so clear that they have no remorse or empathy at all. One examnple is the ds of a friend who will smack his baby brother on the head and say, "I'm sorry, Dylan" so automatically that he is practically saying it at the same time he hits him.

Another thing that doesn't sit right with me is when people teach their kids to hug the victim by way of apology. I'm not condemning anyone who does this, but I've also seen a lot of this being done in a meaningless way with toddlers, so that they learn, "Okay, I can hit him as long as I give him a hug afterwards." Seems kind of twisted to me. :
post #23 of 27
Wow, this is such a good thread and giving me alot to think about.

I loved what you said in your second post, Cindi. I wish we could just let children wait until they are capable of truly feeling the apology. I agree that hearing a bland "thank you" from a kid who obviously doesn't mean it, or rather is just saying it because he's supposed to, is sort of lame!

OTOH, I do worry about the "self fulfilling prophecy" that teachma spoke of. It is sad but true, and I believe others will treat DD better if she does have manners. And in this context, I think kama'aina raised some VERY good points about manners and society. How many times have we greeted someone in passing with a smile and an enthusiastic "how are you?" when a) we really don't care to hear how they are and b) they aren't going to tell us anyway, they'll just reply "fine thanks, and you?". And yet I think everybody's day is brightened a bit by such exchanges.

DD is not at that stage yet, so I'll have to think more on this subject before then. I'm pretty sure that I will teach DD to say "I'm sorry" ASAP, and wait for her to "grow into it" hopefully by me modelling such behaviour to her. But I also fear what moondiapers said about the girl she bit (had to lol a bit at that one!): if DD *isn't* really sorry I want to know why (which hits on a huge frustration I had as a child: noboby wanted to hear my explanation of a situation, I just got punished and that was that!). If it's a good reason, I wouldn't make her say "I'm sorry".

I'm learning so much from this thread!
post #24 of 27
My first reaction after reading the initial question was strong. Like, that red flag feeling I get when I know someone has pushed a button for me. One of the things I have always loved about Mothering and mdc.. Thank you all for your thoughts on this issue, so I could really think about MY thoughts on this, and not just my initial flare. And I have a teen-ager, an eight year old and a two year old. Never too old to think and re-think mothering notions.
I have always taught my dd's to say sorry. I know my dd, age 2 knows what that means, and has the empathy to go with and the understanding of the "I'm sorry." I don't think this was the case with my DD #2 age 8. I always asked what she was going to apologize for. Many times she had no idea. Way older than dd #3 is now. In fact, occationally she will not know exactly what she is being asked to "be sorry" for. She is mostly every empathetic and speaks up when she feels like someone is treating someone else unfairly, is genuinly sorry if she hurts someone, notices when others are hurt and asks them about their pain... but sometimes she can be purposefully mean, especially to her older sister, and not know why her sister thinks she should apologize. So, I am not so sure that asking her to say "sorry" really "took" the way I envisioned. DD #3, Is very empathetic and very quick to apologize, I have not ever pushed the issue much with her. But then, she has 2 older sisters that I have already indoctrinated....
So thanks for the thoughts. You all are so cool. Just having a place to talk about such issue's is a gift for me.
post #25 of 27
Last night after dd#2 dragged the entire contents of #3s room into her room for the 7th streight night in a row i told her she needed to tell me she was sorry and instantly this thread popped into my head. Why did I want her to tell me she was sorry? i knew she she didn't feel bad about doing this and creating even more work for me (if she did she would have stopped several nights ago : ). What i wanted was for her to say "I was wrong. I shouldn't have done this. Will you forgive me?" that is what "I am sorry " means to me. And that is the meaning I have conveyed to my children. I guess in the end how you approach teathing them this depends on what it means to you and to them.
post #26 of 27
I appreciate everyone's input on this topic. It's made me aware of my approach to conflict & how papa & I deal in those situations. I've realized we've just done what comes naturally.... Thank You Cindi for a great thread.

After being more aware the last couple of days I've looked at my reactions & the kids & realize that I'm not militant about apology. If the kids don't want to they will say so & I don't pressure it. We discuss the situation & they go to their rooms "IF" it was intentional & that depends on how hurtful the incident was. They come out when "they" feel their ready , & also make the choice to say "Sorry". Also, if I didn't see what happened between the kids, I don't assume the guilty party. Many times it's 2 egging eachother on.

My children don't apologize because they are forced, nor just blurt out "I'm sorry" as quick as somthing happens because they have to.. It's really about treating others as you'd like to be treated. I believe the girls feel it's the right thing to do because their feelings are hurt when someone intentionally hurts them & doesn't acknowledge it.

That said, I'm open to any suggestions, ideas & am curious how the other route works for other parents. Do kids show compassion on their own in say, a school environment? I wonder how teachers deal w/ conflict as well & if they promote apology.
I'm always evolving as a mother & am open to new ideas.


"believe it if you need it or leave it if you dare"
~Lesh/Hunter
post #27 of 27
I'm coming in late (we've been away), and I've just skimmed the other replies. My parents always made a distinction between saying 'I'm wrong, I shouldn't have done that' and 'I'm sorry'.

Growing up, if we'd done something to hurt someone else, we did have to tell them that we were wrong, and shouldnt have done that. They never forced us to say that we were sorry, unless we genuinely felt sorry.

I've never enforced the 'I'm sorry' with my dds, but both will automatically say it if they see that I'm upset about somethign they've done. It takes a bit longer to come when it's their sister they've hurt!

But I do think it is worthwhile to respect the distinction for the child...growing up, I usually said 'I'm sorry' because I was. But it was nice to know I didnt' have to say it if I wasn't. Sometimes just admitting I was wrong was hard enough!

Carolyn
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