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"Say you're sorry" - Page 4

post #61 of 83
Originally Posted by maya44 View Post
When something goes wrong with my order in a restaurant or a store I want the waitress or store manager to say she is sorry (and make amends). So long as she sounds like she means it I do not care what she is thinking inside. I just want the acknowledgment that something wrong was done. And I want her to use the words "sorry" which is to me the best way to express this.

And this is what I think MOST people want. Not all of course, I never said all. Not many maybe in the MDC world. But in the vast majority of the mainstream world? Yep, yep, yep.
Well, I lived in the "mainstream" world for a long, long time...in fact, I still do. I've had the apologies from store clerks, waitresses, etc. They don't bother me, but they also don't mean anything. It's a platitude - the amends they make (be it a free item, a replacement, whatever) are an attempt to keep business coming in the door. I understand that - they understand that. Everybody knows the score. I've had apologies from waitresses that sounded sincere - and others that didn't...makes no difference to me, because I don't care about the apology. I care about fixing the problem.

In any case...I want my child to feel sorry when they hurt someone. I want them to understand that they have done so. I want them to want to fix it. I see my job as helping them develop empathy. It's my job to teach them that "I'm sorry" is a socially accepted expression of contrition. It's not my job to teach them to lie. It's not my job to teach them to say "I'm sorry" when they don't mean it. I received dozens of forced apologies in school...do you think those words mean anything to me now? More to the point...what do they mean to the guys who bullied me, were caught and forced to say "I'm sorry", then bullied me again ten minutes later? Maybe they're doing well in life now - they certainly learned the social conventions, and they can lie easily and without it showing. But, that's not what I want to teach my children.
post #62 of 83
Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
There have been times when the leaders of our firm have had to "say sorry" to the people of our company. When they have done us wrong. On numerous occassions.
So - they "say sorry", but continue to wrong you? That's not what I want my kids to learn about life. It might be accepted by "society", but it's not what I'm teaching.
post #63 of 83
Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
One day, our kids will be Adults. And if they haven't been taught basic social skills of:

"I apologize"
"Thank You"

then they are in for a rude awakening.
But are children are not YET adults. One of the things a child has to learn is how their actions affect others. If you are rude, people won't want to be with you. That's more than mouthing phrases. It's about RESPECTING people. If they respect people, it will come through in their social interactions.

I will explain that people like you to say "sorry" when you have hurt them because it shows them you understand they were hurt. But force them to say "sorry"? Never.

Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
We have to teach our kids to take responsibility for their actions. Take "Ownership" of what they have done wrong.

Okay, fine, you don't have to "say sorry" but don't just ignore what you have done either.
I would argue this is a different skill than mouthing "I'm sorry." This is the one that I want my children to have. I want my children to recognize when they have hurt someone and be able to make amends. Whether or not they use the word 'sorry' is up to them.

I assume that my children are smart, social creatures. They will learn the words that they need for social interaction through social interaction NOT by being drilled. Indeed, handful of times our son has spontaneously said "sorry" is when he has accidently bumped into one of us. That's the phrase we use. If the hurt is the result of something he deliberately, "I'm sorry" might not be appropriate.

Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
We expect apologizes from our World Leaders...why not our kids???
And did you really believe the Pope when he apologized? I didn't.

Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
I work in Corporate America. I work for a firm that has invested millions of dollars in Ethics/Diversity training and let me tell you... because you are dealing people of all race/cultures/backgrounds, you had better learn empathy and you had better be ready to voice that empathy because you never know when you might offend someone just because you don't know their culture.
"I'm sorry" does not equal empathy. If empathy doesn't come first, "I'm sorry" is useless.
post #64 of 83
I missed the post about World Leaders. This may not belong in the GD forum, but just to address it...I don't expect apologies from World Leaders. I think 90% of the time, they're nothing but PR, and they very much rub me the wrong way.
post #65 of 83
"Saying Sorry" is not completely about what one is feeling.

It's also about acknowledgement to the person who was wronged.
post #66 of 83

Ask them how it feels....

This is a tough one. It starts at home I think. I don't want my dd to be that waitress. She's only 4, but it can start now. I want my dd to apologize, but I don't believe in forcing her. Instead, I'm big on helping her recognize the right feelings. Like I'll say, "how do you think it made Josh feel when you knocked over his blocks? How would you feel? What do you think we should do to help him feel better?" If all goes well (cross my fingers), my dd will come up with an idea herself (give Josh a hug or help him rebuild his tower). It's cool when it works out cuz I'm not "making" dd do anything...and even tho she's only 4, she came up with her own solution.
post #67 of 83
I got a heartfelt apology from another adult the other day. It most certainly was not okay, but I appreciated that he said that he had been wrong and that he was sorry. I told him "thank you."
post #68 of 83
Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
"Saying Sorry" is not completely about what one is feeling.
IMO, it should be. If a person is saying, "I'm sorry," that person should truly be sorry. There are ways to genuinely acknowledge that a person was wronged or is upset/hurt/etc. without offering platitudes. Not saying "I'm sorry" and showing empathy or compassion are not mutually exclusive.

Sometimes society's expectations don't really make sense. Why should one be expected to basically lie in order to make another person feel better? It seems to me that more people should be troubled by the idea that saying "I'm sorry" always amount to an expression of compassion, when it clearly isn't.
post #69 of 83
Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
"Saying Sorry" is not completely about what one is feeling.

It's also about acknowledgement to the person who was wronged.
that makes me think of something my DH does. i'll say i'm sorry about something like...um...that he has to go to a meeting he doesn't want to go to and he'll say, "it's not YOUR fault" when what i was trying to get across was not acknowledgement of wrongdoing, but just sympathy. there sure are a lot of layers to that "sorry" word.

another more irksome thing he does (hope this doesn't turn into my first ever dh rant on mdc ) is fail to acknowledge my apology when we've been fighting. i might say i'm sorry for blowing up and he doesn't say anything. that just irks me so much. i'm not asking for "it's okay", but "thanks" or some other acknowledgement that he heard me and appreciates that i am apologizing would be nice. whew, i'm starting to feel hot under the collar just thinking about it although it's been quite awhile since we've had a fuss. he's really a great guy, though and i'll stop talking about him now.

as far as the hugging along with the "sorry", i have been encouraging that between my dds. i want them to know that when they have done wrong by somebody they love a hug can be nice. i often offer hugs to them to help them feel better when i am apologizing or when they're just in need of hugging. i don't have particularly huggy relationships with my siblings and would like to foster closeness, too. i don't particularly encourage it with friends, but it's rare for my kids to poke/push/prod somebody other than sis. dd1 has some personal space issues herself and doesn't like to be hugged by just anybody so i wouldn't push that on another kid.

i am going to reread this thread because i think there are some really good ideas here about fostering empathy. i _really_ want to encourage that, especially with dd1 for whom empathy does not seem particularly easy.
post #70 of 83
I think manners require an apology when you hurt someone accidentally. When there has been a conflict between 2 people, I think the situation is a little more complicated. I don't force an apology in those situations because I think it implies that apologies have nothing to do with feeling sorry, and I have seen an apology used as the condition for release from a timeout, and it rubs me the wrong way-- it seemed to be more about making the kid submit to adult authority than actually helping them consider the other child's feelings.

post #71 of 83
Originally Posted by animus_silvae View Post
I just want to add ds is pretty much non-verbal but 2 words he DOES use regularly are "please" and "thank you" and I have never once prompted him to say it. He has picked it up from watching me. If someone gives ds a treat or whatever, I will say thank you on behalf of him if for some reason he doesn't show it. I am all about modelling gratitude and appropriate social behaviour (I'm not a hill-billy!) but am disgusted by this "now what's the magic word?" crap. I want my kid to grow into a compassionate and intuitive being and not act like a puppy jumping for a biscuit.
Well, I have reminded my son to say please before he receives something, or suggested he asks in a nice voice (as opposed to "Give me!") before I comply with a request. I will also remind him to say thank you. Yet, he is still a compassionate and intuitive being. He greets people, he often says "thank you" spontaneously and genuinely. He tries to comfort other kids when they are sad.

Have you never said please, thank you, or sorry to smooth a social situation when you did not feel particularly pleased, grateful, or sorry? Why shouldn't we give our kids the same social skills? My child is not an automaton biscuit-jumper just because I remind him to use his manners. Sheesh.
post #72 of 83
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Well, I have reminded my son to say please before he receives something, or suggested he asks in a nice voice (as opposed to "Give me!") before I comply with a request.
What do you do if he doesn't ask in a "nice voice"?
post #73 of 83
Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
"Saying Sorry" is not completely about what one is feeling.

It's also about acknowledgement to the person who was wronged.

post #74 of 83
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
What do you do if he doesn't ask in a "nice voice"?

Well I am not the poster you asked, but I too expect my child to ask in a nice voice.

What do I do if they don't? Give them what they ask for and repeat my expectations for the next time.
post #75 of 83
We generally remind dd to ask nicely. (There are times when she's what I call "beyond beyond"...super tired and overwhelmed, when I don't bother with it, because she's totally non-receptive, anyway.) Honeybee's phrasing of "before I comply with a request" just made me wonder how she handles it.
post #76 of 83
Originally Posted by Viriditas View Post
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.
This is pretty much exactly what we do. The intense negativity with which some parents make their children "say sorry" can be really scary sometimes!

I also model by apologizing to the child myself. Now, my dd is not likely to deliberately hurt another kid, she's just never really done that. So, for us it's usually the case that dd accidentally hurt someone and feels bad, but feels that saying "I'm sorry" is an admission of guilt or something, so she'll just stand there looking nervous. I say, something like the above, and then go look the hurting child in the eyes and say "I'm really sorry that _x_ happened. Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?"
post #77 of 83
What do you do if he doesn't ask in a "nice voice"?

Well, he nearly always does. If he doesn't, I would probably re-evaluate the situation to see where he is at, because most likely he's not in a rational place, so I need to adress that differently. If he is having a melt-down or in a completely irrational "feeling" mode, then I don't even bother telling him to ask nicely, I just try to fulfill his needs. Usually, however, this type of reaction is to something he can't have, and is often something I can't fulfill anyway (this morning, he wanted to go to a hockey game "right now" and really couldn't comprehend that the skaters would not be on the ice upon his demand!), so I just empathize and give him time to process his disappointment.

If he is just whining at me, though, I will remind him he needs to use a "big" or "nice" voice (and screaming "please" at me doesn't count, either! ), and wait until he at least attempts to moderate his voice. He usually cooperates after one reminder, and it's really a non-issue.
post #78 of 83
I really don't want my children to apologize if they don't mean it and I really want them to apologize and mean it.:

So I think it's about modelling(it's always about modelling) what you want to see...teaching, explaining, identifying the feelings and deciding what you want your child to do.

Generally while my kids are small I will identify their emotions for them...you were angry so you hit so and so...we don't hit, it makes so and so hurt...then after that I apologize...I would say "I am sorry you got hurt"

I have been on the recieving end of apologies that meant absolutely nothing or were used to get the person out of scrapes...my ex husband for example...he was always sorry...for getting caught but not for the bother he caused others. He apologized daily pretty much and I stopped accepting his apologies...accepting them meant he got away with it...and he would do it again.

I want my kids to be able to deal with real emotions and real relationships in a healthy way and while I want them to be polite I really want their personal relationships to be authentic..that's the most important thing...

I have had a harder time with my older kids..who were forced to apologize for everything by their dad..they can be extremely polite but never apologize when they wrong someone because they don't get that sorry means you "feel" sorry it's not just a word.

They are learning now though because I have talked to them about it...at 12 and 16 I have to really work hard to get them to not try to wiggle out of situations with an automatic sorry(schools force it too). My oldest had a fight with a girl and they had to apologize to each other...school dropped the issue, girls hate each other still and nothing was resolved because sorry meant nothing to either of them. My dd is not the least bit sorry...and no she's not a sociopath, she had been tortured by this girl for a year and felt she deserved it, still does. I am sure eventually she will let this go but until then she's not sorry and neither is the other girl.

It's a balancing act but I have decided I won't force sorry...I will talk to them, identify the feelings, model sorry to them..ie...I apologise if I hurt them etc....but I will not force it.

My three year old is definitely getting it...she will immediately hug her baby sister if she knocks her down by accident..that genuine sorry means so much and is well worth the risk that she will be seen as impolite by random strangers.

I am sure as we venture out into the world and she sees me use "sorry" as a simple meaningless platitude that "society" sometimes demands of us she will learn to use it. In the meantime I want her to be genuine and feel sorry.

As an added note, I don't think there is anything wrong with reminding your child to say sorry as long as that's not all you do...if you teach them, explain why, talk about the feelings.

I know a lady who immediately demands her kids apologise...they say sorry as an automatic response to everything...they bump into the train table and apologise to it
post #79 of 83
i'm really finding this thread interesting.

is there a way to acknowledge wrongdoing without expressing feeling "sorry"?
post #80 of 83
I do have my children apologize - one of the primary reasons I do this is because I think it makes the other child that was hurt feel better. Our almost 4 year old can get rough with our 20 month old sometimes and he will cry, but ya know if his older brother says "I'm sorry Max" and gives him a kiss the crying usually stops right away.
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