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"Say you're sorry"

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 
Do you expect your children to say they are sorry when they have intentionally hurt another child?

If so, what purpose do you feel it serves? I am NOT in any way trying to sound sarcastic. I really want to hear your thoughts on saying they are sorry.

I personally don't tell them to say they are sorry. I might suggest they have something to say, but I don't expect an apology. Especially if what they did was intentional, then chances are that they aren't at all sorry.

Other side of the apology:

IF the other child who hurt your child (intentionally) is told to say "I'm sorry", do you feel like your child should say "That's O.K". ??

My friend's son is VERY VERY sensitive, so maybe this is partially him. But, he refuses to accept an apology if he feels it is insincere. (It's kinda funnY) He's six and will say "I appreciate your apology, but I do not accept it". It leaves the kids baffled. LOL
post #2 of 83
Your son sounds great!

No, I don't believe in forcing kids to apologize. What's the point? If they're really sorry, they will either say it on their own or their actions will show it. If you have to force them to say it, chances are they're probably not sorry, in which case you're basically forcing them to lie. Not good.

Re: "That's okay," I kind of feel the same way. I don't like the idea of a child being made to say a particular phrase, regardless of whether it's true or not, just because that's what is expected of him/her.
post #3 of 83
It's good for little kids to know that it is a convention to apologize. Otherwise, they don't know what to do if they regret doing something wrong.

Forcing apologies isn't the same thing as giving that information.
post #4 of 83
this is new to me. I DO tell my children they need to aplogize. I feel that if I dont that they will learn that hitting is ok.

it scares the crap out of me to think that a child would intentionally hurt someone and deliberatley not be sorry, to me this sounds sociopathic.

why should I not have my children say sorry?
post #5 of 83
Yes, I insist on apologies. Even if they aren't heartfelt, they are something that etiquette requires in our society. It's good manners to say it.

The "That's Okay" part though - no, we don't say that (as adults / parents) and don't ask our children to do so either.
post #6 of 83
My brother and sil were here visiting a month ago and they CONSTANTLY demanded apologies of my neices (2 and 3). It drove me CRAZY! For my part, if 3-y-o dn accidentaly hurt 2-y-o dn (something that happened a lot) I would say something like, "oooh, it looks like I. is really sad/hurt/upset. Maybe there's something you could say to her/do to make her feel better." And she would perk up and run over and apologize and give her a hug immediately.

I liked this because it both directed dn's attention to her sister and let her figure out how to improve the situation, instead of dictating to her what SHE needed to do.
post #7 of 83
I don't make my child say anything. I wouldn't suggest that he apologize either, because he already does apologize when he hurts a child accidentally, and I would assume that if he doesn't say it, he's not sorry.

As for saying, "That's okay" in response to an apology, if another child is apologizing to my son and seems uncomfortable, I might smile and say, "That's okay." I would never require ds to say it.

Children learn manners and social etiquette through modelling. They don't need to be actively taught. Ds doesn't watch how I treat others, so much as he watches and imitates how I treat him.
post #8 of 83

To CravenABoo

Not trying to criticize, but does making them say they're sorry actually make them FEEL sorry? Being forced to say words that one does not necessarily feel might perhaps encourage comfort with LYING more than it would discourage comfort with hurting someone intentionally.
Making tnem apologize doesn't make them understand that hitting isn't ok...it just makes them know that they will have to say certain words after they hurt someone, whether they feel sorry or not.
A sincere apology is one thing, a forced, insincere one is another.

I personally squirm when a child hurts my DS and the parents are trying to force the child to apologize. A mumbled "sorry" coerced from an insistent parent feels fake to everyone involved.

blessings,
Carrie
post #9 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingPigs View Post
Not trying to criticize, but does making them say they're sorry actually make them FEEL sorry? Being forced to say words that one does not necessarily feel might perhaps encourage comfort with LYING more than it would discourage comfort with hurting someone intentionally.
Making tnem apologize doesn't make them understand that hitting isn't ok...it just makes them know that they will have to say certain words after they hurt someone, whether they feel sorry or not.
A sincere apology is one thing, a forced, insincere one is another.

I personally squirm when a child hurts my DS and the parents are trying to force the child to apologize. A mumbled "sorry" coerced from an insistent parent feels fake to everyone involved.

blessings,
Carrie
:

Exactly the point I was trying to get across.
post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingPigs View Post
Not trying to criticize, but does making them say they're sorry actually make them FEEL sorry? Being forced to say words that one does not necessarily feel might perhaps encourage comfort with LYING more than it would discourage comfort with hurting someone intentionally.
Making tnem apologize doesn't make them understand that hitting isn't ok...it just makes them know that they will have to say certain words after they hurt someone, whether they feel sorry or not.
A sincere apology is one thing, a forced, insincere one is another.

I personally squirm when a child hurts my DS and the parents are trying to force the child to apologize. A mumbled "sorry" coerced from an insistent parent feels fake to everyone involved.

blessings,
Carrie
my thoughts exactly. I would never want to teach a child that 2 words can make everything go away, because they can't. I will, however, keep nurturing her empathy. She is still young, but when she hurts another child her first instinct is to comfort the child-this to me is so sincere. If, when she is older this changes, I would most likely appologize to the child on her behalf --giving words to their feelings "I am sorry dd hurt you, I bet that you feel upset right now" something like that. I would have a conversation with dd too to help her learn to give words to her feelings of frustration or whatever caused the behaviour.
post #11 of 83
I don't really see the point in trying to make a child say sorry (or please, or thank you). You can't really MAKE anyone say ANYTHING and it just sort of sets you up to stand there repeating yourself as your child gets more and more self concious and less and less likely to say whatever it is your asking for. And then either you have to give in or ...what? I don't know. When the time comes (still very small kiddo here) I will say *I* am sorry.

Quote:
IF the other child who hurt your child (intentionally) is told to say "I'm sorry", do you feel like your child should say "That's O.K". ??
How about, "Thank you?"

Quote:
My friend's son is VERY VERY sensitive, so maybe this is partially him. But, he refuses to accept an apology if he feels it is insincere. (It's kinda funnY) He's six and will say "I appreciate your apology, but I do not accept it". It leaves the kids baffled. LOL
That seems rude. Someone has humbled themselves enough to give an apology (even an insincere apology takes a little humbling) - to me, that's just rude. And if he's old enough to have thought of that himself (and isn't just repeating a line he's been told to say), he's old enough to understand why that's kinda just rubbing it in. Of course, this is easy to say when I'm not standing there trying to hold back a giggle :
post #12 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizaBear View Post
Yes, I insist on apologies. Even if they aren't heartfelt, they are something that etiquette requires in our society. It's good manners to say it.

The "That's Okay" part though - no, we don't say that (as adults / parents) and don't ask our children to do so either.
I totally agree with this. I see it as being a way for the child to understand that if you hurt someone you must make amends.
post #13 of 83
No, I don't "make" them say sorry, I don't MAKE them do much of anything. I may ASK if they're sorry...but if they aren't, they aren't. They are entitled to their own feelings.
post #14 of 83
I usually just explain how it's not nice to hit and that's not how we make friends, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes I will ask, "Now what should you say?" And he'll say sorry or just run off and play. I don't care either way. Whatever he decides. I think he should say it out of respect but I wouldn't force him. As long as he knows that it was wrong, that's good enough.
post #15 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizaBear View Post
Yes, I insist on apologies. Even if they aren't heartfelt, they are something that etiquette requires in our society. It's good manners to say it.

Agreed. DH and I believe in teaching DS to apologize whenever he hurts someone. Intentional or not.

If he refuses to do it, we won't push him, but DH and I will apologize to the Parent and the child on his behalf.

Also, we will say to the child "are you okay?"

You have to be sure the child is phsyically okay.

Also, apologizing is making sure there is Peace and no confusion. Not apologizing just seems to keep air thick with tension.
post #16 of 83
I don't think that insisting they apologize will teach them to be truely sorrowful. But, I do think it teaches them a very important social convention. I don't believe these conventions are totally arbitrary. Yes, it is possible to say "thank you" or "I'm sorry" and not mean it. But, it's also possible to feel regretful or grateful and be embarrased to express it. So, I do encourage my kids to say those things.

At dd2's age, just over 2yo, I don't make a huge deal about it. I'll suggest to her that she say these things, very low-key for "please" and "thank you", with a little more insistance for "I'm sorry". But, I don't force the issue. I think reminding or suggesting an apology is a useful teaching tool at that age, but making it into an Issue isn't going to help us any.

For dd1, who's 4-1/2, I'm a little more insistant, though not as much as some parents, I think. I tell her, you're old enough to understand why these things are important. You understand that when you're hurt, the simple words, "I'm sorry" are the first step to your feeling better. If you want people to be courteous to you, you must be courteous to them. If you want them to continue to want to play with you, you need to be kind, and "I'm sorry" is kind.

I also want to make sure they understand that saying "I'm sorry" doesn't give them free reign to continue to hurt. I want them to understand that it's both a convention and something that needs to be heartfelt.

Intentional hurting is truely the only thing that I'm a stickler about. It wasn't much of an issue with dd1, who would occasionally hit or bite but not frequently. But dd2 seems to be a real fiend for it - and she has a preferred target for her aggression. Unfortunately, her big sister is picking up on her habits. I've really had to crack down on that. My solution is that any child who is being physically aggressive is removed from play and sits quietly for a few minutes. I guess you'd call it a time-out, though I'm really careful to make sure my kids know that it's not a removal of love, it's not a seperation from family, it's just a removal from the situation for a few minutes until they calm down and can play nicely. It's calm down time, and it's time for the kid who was the victim to recover and resume playing. It certainly isn't fair that the kid who did the hurting gets to continue playing while the kid who was hurt goes to cry for five minutes. Kids don't want to play with kids who attack them. It's not fair for the kid who's a victim to have to leave the game/toy/situation, so it's only logical to remove the aggressor.
post #17 of 83
I expect my children to say sorry~when they feel sorry. When my oldest would hit her little sister, my initial reaction would be "Say you're sorry!" but instead I say, "Hitting is not acceptable, you hurt your sister. " She would then cry, and run away- to which I would say, "Saying sorry means you want her to feel better and you won't do it again. When you are ready, please tell her that."
I lead by example. If I hurt my kids anyway- like raise my voice, I say I am very sorry and I hope they can forgive me. They respond with, "I'm sorry, too and I forgive you mommy."
They're so sweet.
post #18 of 83
DS has a great sense of empathy, and he only acts in a manner that "calls for" an apology with other children with whom he is very comfortable, so it's been a blessing that I can work this out with close friends. This is what I've found works for us: if DS performs an action causing the other child distress, I will pull DS aside and explain that the other child is crying/upset because DS bit/kicked/whatever and it hurt the other child. Because he almost always feels empathy for the child, I ask him, "How does it make you feel when Other Child is crying?" He will reply, "Sad." And so I can then say, "When we hurt someone, sometimes it helps to say that we're sorry. Would you like to tell Other Child that you're sorry?" If he says no, I leave it, and I apologize on his behalf, but I don't force him to do it at 2 and 9 months, it's just too early for me to decide what to do if he doesn't genuinely feel badly, KWIM?

As for the flip side, we've decided that the most authentic response to "I'm sorry" from another child is not, "It's okay," because it's NOT okay to hit or kick or hurt, and I don't want DS to learn that, nor do I want him to feel like I'm asking him to accept the other child's behavior as okay, so we use, "I forgive you." When the other child says I'm sorry, I will say something like, "Henry, Other Child said he was sorry that he bit/kicked/whatever you. That means he feels sad that you were hurt. Are you ready to forgive him?" If he says no, again, I don't push, but I do sit with him until he's calmed down and we discuss what forgiveness is and within a minute or two, he's almost always feeling better and will spontaneously respond, "It's okay" or "I forgive you" to the other child.

My hope is that through this modeling, he will learn our beliefs that we all have a need to ask for forgiveness in life, from each other and from God, and that not forcing it nor making it a huge shaming issue will teach him gently that it's okay to make mistakes, and that it's important that we take responsibility for them and accept that we are never going to be perfect.

We're in the early stages of this, so take it for what it's worth.
post #19 of 83
I encourage my kids to "make it better" when they hurt someone. Usually this just means, for my kids, that they give a hug(their own response)and a kiss.Ds like to give a kiss as well,he is very affectionate!
I think with kids it is good to teach them that their actions won't go unchecked. That if they intentionally hurt someone, they need to set things right. I feel this is just basic manners.

i do not expect them to say"its ok" That is just weird.Because, you know, in many cases, everything is not all better all at once.
post #20 of 83
DD is 3. I do not force her to apologize. I was forced to apologize all the time as a child and it stopped meaning anything. Words without sincerity are pointless and insulting to the person who was hurt.

If DD hurts someone, accidentally or unintentionally, she must (and I will help her with this if necessary) check in with them. That means asking if they are OK. If they aren't, she asks what they need - an ice pack, a hug, some space. And then she respects that. I will ask her if there's anything she wants to say to the other child, and sometimes she says "I'm sorry", sometimes she doesn't, but she'll say something kind or just leave the child alone depending on the mood.

I, of course, make sure the other child is really OK, and make that child's needs a priority - DD doesn't get extra attention for behaving badly or unkindly. And when it's taken care of, DD and I have a talk about what happened, why what she did wasn't OK, how the other child felt, and how to handle the situation next time.
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