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"Say you're sorry" - Page 2

post #21 of 83
I do encourage DS to apologize if he hurts someone, and I model the same thing to him (i.e. if I step on him by accident I apologize). If DS doesn't want to apologize I do it on his behalf. I honestly don't care if he's sorry or not, he still needs to apologize for injuring another person. However, I don't force him to say anything.
post #22 of 83
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Lady Madonna View Post
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.
That is exactly how I handle it too.
post #23 of 83
I do not force my daughter to appologize. Instead I do explain the situation to her and gently suggest she go and check on the person she hurt. I do not force that either. I also go and check on the one that was hurt myself and model the behavior for her. 9 times out of 10 she decides she wants to check on the person that is hurt or sad and she then usually appologizes, or pats, or hugs the person.

I do not force those words though, because I feel that would teach my daughter that you should lie to please other people. I think that would be a deep lesson that would be much more damaging in the long run. I want her to be true and honest. By modeling the behavior to her I am teaching her to have empathy, and not to be a parrot.
post #24 of 83
We do the "make it better" approach, much the was Lady Madonna describes. Saying "I'm sorry" is one possible way to start making things better.

The other day my son pushed a friend and did not want to talk to him afterwards, so I didn't force anything. I checked in with the friend (who was OK), immediately took my son home, and talked to him a lot about how to make things better with his friend. We saw them the next day, my son apologized genuinely, and all was well.
post #25 of 83
Since DS is 20 mos we're just working it out now, but when DS hurts another child (he pushed one of his little friends a few times today ), I encourage him to notice how the other child feels: "See, DS, your friend is so sad! Can you think of anything you can do to make him/her feel better?", then (since he's still young) I prompt him: "Maybe you could give a hug? And can you remember what you can say that makes people feel better?", and then if he doesn't think of it, I prompt him again with the word: "sorry", which he usually is happy to say and give the hug-- though I would never force him to do this and would apologize on his behalf if necessary.

I don't want "sorry" to be something that automatically pops out of his mouth as though it has the magic effect of making everything all better, so we're focusing on other things like hugs, finding a toy to give the other child if that was the source of the dispute, and noticing how sad he/she is so that he'll eventually understand that saying sorry is just the first step in making up for a mistake, whether intentional or accidental, but I agree with many of the pp's that it's an important social convention. I will never "make" DS say sorry (or any of those other words I've heard parents forcing their kids to say), but, at least while he's so young, I feel comfortable prompting him with the words. Of course, we also do a lot of modeling, as we all apologize to each other when appropriate. Once he is older, I expect that I'll be able to stop prompting, but maybe a gentle reminder might be still required, which I think would be ok as long as it does not embarrass either child.
post #26 of 83
My kids dont intentionally ever hurt other children, so thats not a problem... or ... well I should say rarely because I can remember one ot two instances.

However there are times that it happens by accident and they DO feel bad. If its someone we/they know, I suggest, you could say sorry or give some comfort... whether thats a hug, a pat on the back whatever... it helps them to make amends. I never insist on it, and they always offer something at my suggestion.

With each other I often make them hug.... It makes them laugh and makes both children feel better when they've been fighting... (but they are only 3 an 5, I dont think I would do that with older children).

I feel like they want to offer comfort bc they see me offer comfort, and if they decided not to comfort the child that was hurt, they would see me doing it.. which would be teaching for next time it happens.

but, to just let it go....and not say anything or suggest apology.. just seems a little rude.
post #27 of 83
I would apologize on his behalf, sort of. I say "thank you" on his behalf as well.
Not like "Keagan says he's sorry" but more like "oh! sorry that you got hurt" then try to figure out ways to make it better. I might give ds information about "what can we do to make him feel better."
I do point out how his actions do/can affect other people. ("Lily looks hurt because you accidently stepped on her" and "Sometimes it helps to say your sorry" Something like that. It's never really come up, but that's what I think I'd say.

I say "that's ok" when someone apologizes. But I'm not always comfortable with it. I like "thank you" a lot.
post #28 of 83
well, i have been asking/telling dd1 (5.5) to say she's sorry. i don't know if that's the best way to handle it or not. she's a very gentle soul except around her little sister (3 next month) whom she likes to whack on the head whenever she feels her space invaded or just feels out of sorts. i think she's just more comfortable letting those agressive impulses out at home, on someone smaller than she is. dd1 is a very sweet and gentle kid, but she is not very empathetic at all. it's all about her, which is age appropriate i guess, but i think she really needs some guidance with empathy. she's a little egoist, sweet though.

anyway, here's an incident that happened just the other night. older dd was lying on my lap on the couch with her knees sticking out and one of her knees bumped little dd, though not very hard. dd1 did not say sorry. dd2 poked dd1 with one finger (again not too hard). then dd1 started poking back and dd2 was getting ready to whack dd1 when i intervened and explained to them what was happening. "dd1, your knee bumped dd2 and you didn't say you were sorry so dd2 poked you. dd2 i don't think dd1 meant to bump you, there's no need to poke her, etc". at that point dd1 said "i'm sorry" and dd2 gave her a hug and it stopped there and didn't escalate further like it often does.

i feel like i need to address it somehow because i don't want to let dd1 get away with it and send dd2 the message that whacking each other on the head is okay. urrrggghhh. i don't know if strongly encouraging "sorry i whacked you on the head" is the best way of approaching it, but i sure can't just ignore it. i will be rereading this thread to add some ideas to my toolbox. i just need to practice them so i'll be able to pull them out in the heat of the moment 'cause i GET SO MAD when i see dd1 whacking my baby dd2 on her head or twisting her arm around. grrrrrr....

ETA: "thank you" as a response to sorry is one we use around here sometimes. other times "that's okay" works. "i forgive you" occasionally although that sounds a little stilted and patronizing to me.
post #29 of 83
I answered this in another thread, so I'll just copy what I said there:

As for the whole "I'm sorry" thing. I don't make my kids apologize, and I don't exactly apologize for them, either. If dd (my aggressive one!) were to push/hit a child on the playground, I would probably say something like, "I'm sorry that happened - dd is making a lot of progress at dealing with her aggression, but she still has a ways to go"...apologizing for the incident, and letting the other child and parent know that it is something we're dealing with. I'd hate to leave them with the impression that I just don't care that their child was hit!

I might suggest to dd, out of earshot, that it would be nice to apologize, but I won't force the matter. If she doesn't feel sorry, I see no value in making her mouth the words. I don't have a problem with "empty" social pleasantries, such as "please" and "thank you" at the dinner table, or whatever. But, I hate insincere forced apologies with a passion. I was on the receiving end of many of them when I was younger, and I much preferred no apology at all to one given under duress. I also don't think that "say you're sorry" teaches kids anything about empathy or repentance.
post #30 of 83
I can't force my daughter to say anything. I do remind her to apologize if she's hurt someone, though. (We've also talked about how you can't just say you're sorry and do the same thing over and over again. It's not a "get out of jail free" card. : )

She models quite well based on dh's and my behavior and usually says please, thank you, you're welcome, and sorry. Sometimes she gets caught up in the moment, as do we all, and needs a reminder. I think that's good manners and is an important skill to learn.

If she refuses, I apologize for her. Not, "Qualia's sorry she hurt you," because I don't know if she is and it's not my job to say that for her. But I will say, "I'm sorry you got hurt. I hope you feel better." Then I remove her from the situation, because if she's having trouble apologizing, chances are she's in a mood where she'll act out again and she needs a little space to calm down.

ETA: I really dislike it when parents make their children hug another child after hurting them. A woman at our playgroup always did that and the LAST thing dd wanted after getting whcked in the head by this kid was him coming at her with his arms up. It seemed so disrespectful of dd's feelings.
post #31 of 83
Originally Posted by cravenab00 View Post
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.
It's not sociopathic. It's young. Children need to develop empathy (some of them seem to start out with more than others, or catch on faster, or something). I've seen small children - toddlers, usually - actually laugh when someone gets hurt. They find the way the person reacts (hands flying to the face, sudden yelp, odd facial expressions, etc.) to be hilarious. That doesn't mean they're sociopathic - it just means that they don't yet grasp what's really going on. Just because a child knows that they're supposed to say "I'm sorry", it doesn't mean they actually are sorry. It might even end up with them thinking that what they did is okay, so long as they apologize. I want my kids to learn to be sorry, not to say sorry...

It actually occurs to me that maybe it is sociopathic, according to a strict definition of sociopathic. But, if it is, then it's developmentally apppropriate, and is something they simply need to grow away from. Perhaps it's accurate to say that all children are born without empathy or a conscience, and they need to learn those things? I don't know enough about infant psychology to say one way or the other. Either way, it doesn't worry me. Little babies and children often have what would be considered anger issues in an adult, too. At that age, it's just a developmental stage that they need guidance to deal with.
post #32 of 83
I like the ideas presented in this thread. This is a good thread, and i am learning quite alot reading it.

However, I do insist on 'sorry'. Offending child is removed from situation until that sorry is forthcoming.

I am fortunate to have an exceedingly understanding and sweet natured oldest daughter who, unfortunately, is usually on the receiving end of hurtful behaviors from her almost 3 yr old sister. She is always ready to forgive her little sister and is usually more concerned with how her sister is feeling about having hit her than she is about having been hit.... so i have not had to prompt for the acceptance of apologies.

post #33 of 83
Also, I think having them say "sorry" is a leading path to introduce empathy.
post #34 of 83
We talk about why she did it and tell her to ask forgiveness.
post #35 of 83
Yes, I always insist my ds say he's sorry, even if he's not sorry. (But I do think most of the time he really is sorry). I just think it's good manners, kind of like saying 'please' and 'thank you'.
post #36 of 83
Yes, I EXPECT my kids to say that they are sorry. I think that this is the only polite thing to do. I expect them to ALSO do something else to 'make it better' if possible.

I think most people want those words said to them when they have been hurt.
post #37 of 83
Well, I started teaching my son to say he was sorry when he became verbal. It was "when we hurt someone (by accident or on purpose), we say I'm sorry." It's kind of like teaching please and thank you. You teach the form before they are really old enough to understand the concept. Then you add the understanding as they get older.

Now that he has more reasoning capabilities, I will give him more prompts. "You pushed M. Look at M's face. He is very sad." I give him a moment for this to sink in. Then I say, "What could you say to M to help him feel better?"
post #38 of 83
we dont make sandrel say anything.
like pp have said we feel its forcing her to lie and not helping her to actually *feel* sorry.
usually i will ask her what happened, draw her attention to the child who got hurt and ask her how she feels about that. usually she will find her own words of repentance and i will let her know she should tell the child how she feels.
usually this ends in "im really really feeling bad because i hurt you, im sorry and i dont want to hurt you again."
she knows you apologize to people because we always apologized to her, if we bump into her, eat the food she wanted to eat, have to interrupt her when shes in the middle of something, ect ect...
we've always apologized to her. around the time she started walking she started apologizing back. and now that she has a younger sister she sees us apologize to the baby for various things and she apologizes to her too.
we never had to 'actively teach' manners, they were modeled from birth. she knows no other way.
post #39 of 83
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
It's kind of like teaching please and thank you. You teach the form before they are really old enough to understand the concept.
I don't teach dd please or thank you: IMO, Children will pick up social conventions on their own, I don't need to say "Not until you say please" etc. When I watch other mom's do it I feel like they are training their child like they would an animal. I know this sounds harsh and I don't mean to offend, but when someone is holding something a child wants and says "Say please" and the child has to do it to get the item....it just weirds me out. I know that dd will pick it up on her own---after all, they don't call them social conventions for nothin' I prefer letting children absorb the idea before experimenting with using it
post #40 of 83
Originally Posted by tboroson View Post
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.

yes yes yes.

I believe very strongly in teaching my kids social rules. One of those rules is that when you do something wrong, you apologize. It will make things so much easier for them in getting along with other people if they learn the expectations of others.

Please, thank you, not interrupting when others are speaking, not using bad language - these all go in the same category of social rules all children are expected (but often don't) follow. My children will be treated better and with more respect by adults if they know and follow these rules.

I am not saying this is good or ideal. It is the way the world works, however, and I am helping my children by giving them these basic skills.

However, saying sorry, please, thank you, etc doesn't alleviate the need to also teach them about compassion, consideration of others, respect, etc.

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