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#61 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
As the kid who was wronged - frequently - I'd suggest you figure out how that kid feels. Being picked on and bullied felt like crap. Getting an apology that I knew full well the kid was only coming out with because he had to felt worse. The whole "it's about the other person" thing is a crock. People want their child to do the "right" thing, no matter how crappy it makes someone else feel. But, let's be honest, and stop pretending it's about empathy or making the other person feel better. It's not. It's about fulfilling a social convention, whereby the offense mysteriously disappears once the magic formula is uttered.

This topic has come up here before. Every time, I mention how crappy it felt/feels to get a forced apology. Every time, people basically say, "oh, well - that's too bad, but my child is going to do it, anyway".
I wholeheartedly disagree and given that I was an overweight, uncoordinated, low-income child, I am no stranger to being made fun of or bullied. Our experiences are different, our opinions are different, and my children will continue to apologize when they hurt someone. I believe that apologizing when you hurt someone is the right thing to do, period. And IMO it is not OK not to apologize because you don't want to or it makes you feel embarrassed.

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#62 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
And, making them apologize teaches them that it's okay to be mean, as long as you say "I'm sorry".

You know...dd almost never says "I'm sorry". She'll run away crying, and be miserable for hours over this issue. However, once it's explained to her that her actions hurt someone, she generally doesn't do it again, and she does try to make it up to the person in some other way. DS2 will apologize at the drop of a hat...but he'll also repeat the offense 10 seconds later.
One of the lessons in my house is that saying you're sorry means that you shouldn't repeat the offense. Now I know that my sons generally do repeat offenses, but I know a lot of children who need to learn by repetition.

I think that you are oversimplifying Storm Bride. I don't just make my kids say that they're sorry and then that's it. Saying you're sorry is not a panacea. We talk about what went wrong, why you should not do that and discuss how the other child felt.

We live in a civilized society where certain behaviors are expected, such as saying "please", "thank you" and "I'm sorry". If you just gloss over when you did something wrong because at the time of the action you are still angry and don't feel like apologizing, well I think that you do the other person a disservice even if you try to make it up in other ways later. So, like StrawberryFields I have my children apologize.

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#63 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by StrawberryFields View Post
I wholeheartedly disagree and given that I was an overweight, uncoordinated, low-income child, I am no stranger to being made fun of or bullied. Our experiences are different, our opinions are different, and my children will continue to apologize when they hurt someone. I believe that apologizing when you hurt someone is the right thing to do, period. And IMO it is not OK not to apologize because you don't want to or it makes you feel embarrassed.
Fine. But, don't pretend that it's about the other person's feelings, because you have no idea how they feel about it. You want your child to know the social conventions - fine. That doesn't mean it always makes the other person feel better. In all honesty, I've been surprised by the number of people on MDC who say they feel better when they receive insincere apologies. I've met very few people irl who like to receive them, and quite a few who feel the same way I do about them. Most people I've talked to about it don't really care one way or the other, but of the rest, more of them dislike receiving them than like receiving them.

Okay - so it's not OK not to apologize. Do you have any suggestions for someone like my dd? I'd like her to learn to use those words, simply because I know that some people attach importance to them. However, I don't see how standing there, holding her arm, and going, "say you're sorry", while she cries her eyes out and/or screams is going to make anybody feel any better. I'm really kind of lost as to how anybody makes someone else say something, anyway.

(I'm also confused as to how it would make anybody feel better to have ds2 wallop them, say "I'm sorry" and then wallop them again a few minutes later. His pattern, not dd's, is the one that concerns me, because it's highly reminiscent of emotionally abusive adults. I really have to work to remember that he's still very little, and his belief that saying "I'm sorry" means "I can do this again any time I want to" is probably a maturity thing, not a sign that he's going to be abusive or something...)

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#64 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 04:20 PM
 
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Okay - so it's not OK not to apologize. Do you have any suggestions for someone like my dd? I'd like her to learn to use those words, simply because I know that some people attach importance to them. However, I don't see how standing there, holding her arm, and going, "say you're sorry", while she cries her eyes out and/or screams is going to make anybody feel any better. I'm really kind of lost as to how anybody makes someone else say something, anyway.

(I'm also confused as to how it would make anybody feel better to have ds2 wallop them, say "I'm sorry" and then wallop them again a few minutes later. His pattern, not dd's, is the one that concerns me, because it's highly reminiscent of emotionally abusive adults. I really have to work to remember that he's still very little, and his belief that saying "I'm sorry" means "I can do this again any time I want to" is probably a maturity thing, not a sign that he's going to be abusive or something...)
I do not hold my child by the arm and insist that he apologize as he wails and refuses. Rather, I explain to him how the other child felt, give him a few different ways to approach the problem in the future that would not hurt the other child and then ask if he is ready to apologize.

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#65 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 04:21 PM
 
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One of the lessons in my house is that saying you're sorry means that you shouldn't repeat the offense. Now I know that my sons generally do repeat offenses, but I know a lot of children who need to learn by repetition.
We talk about not repeating the offense all the time. DS2 isn't learning it. He's learned "I'm sorry". Obviously, not repeating the offense is not "part" of saying "I'm sorry". They're two different things. Ideally, they should be taught/learned together, but one is not part of the other. Saying "I'm sorry" is words. Avoiding repeating the offense is an action (or lack thereof, depending how you look at it.)

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I think that you are oversimplifying Storm Bride. I don't just make my kids say that they're sorry and then that's it. Saying you're sorry is not a panacea.
We're talking about making kids say "I'm sorry". People here on this thread have said they don't care if it's sincere or not. The other issues you raise are separate.

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We talk about what went wrong, why you should not do that and discuss how the other child felt.
So do we. What does that have to do with making (how do you do that, anyway??) a child say "I'm sorry"?

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We live in a civilized society where certain behaviors are expected, such as saying "please", "thank you" and "I'm sorry". If you just gloss over when you did something wrong because at the time of the action you are still angry and don't feel like apologizing, well I think that you do the other person a disservice even if you try to make it up in other ways later.
If someone is too angry to give me a sincere apology, I don't find the offer of a socially required fake one to worth anything. I honestly can't see how a forced, angry apology avoid doing a "disservice". Apologize later, when you actually feel sorry...or you can lie. Lying is the socially acceptable thing to do, of course, but that doesn't mean that everybody likes it.

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So, like StrawberryFields I have my children apologize.
I am still interested in what you do if they won't. I mean, how do you make someone apologize? (I know at least one kid who apologized to me did so, because he was going to be suspended if he didn't, and another because he was going to be spanked if he didn't, but I don't know how it would work in a GD family.)

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#66 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 04:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Danesmama View Post
I do not hold my child by the arm and insist that he apologize as he wails and refuses. Rather, I explain to him how the other child felt, give him a few different ways to approach the problem in the future that would not hurt the other child and then ask if he is ready to apologize.
I never said you, or anybody else here, did. That is what I would have to do, in order to "make" dd apologize. I've done all the things you mention here. She won't say it.

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#67 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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I haven't read all the responses, however, as the parent of a non-apologizer (he gets really embarrased and mad when he knows he had done something wrong and retreats), I can appreciate both sides of the apology debate. I appreciate the importance of expressing regret at an action that causes hurt to someone else, but I also really cannot stand apologies served up by people who've learned that is what they need to do to get out of a situation and get on with what they want to do. I would MUCH rather have a person not repeat an offense than commit the offence over and over and simply say "sorry" each time.

In our family, one set of parents strictly enforce apologies from their small children, with the best of intentions, but do little to correct the repeatative behaviour that requires an apology. Whereas, we don't enforce apologies, but we DO enforce gentle behaviour. For example, if my son hits someone, he knows he will get removed from the situation. His cousins hit and attack freely, are forced to apologize but then quickly return to the hitting and attacking. I'd rather they not hit than apologize each time they do so.
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#68 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 05:16 PM
 
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In our family, one set of parents strictly enforce apologies from their small children, with the best of intentions, but do little to correct the repeatative behaviour that requires an apology. Whereas, we don't enforce apologies, but we DO enforce gentle behaviour. For example, if my son hits someone, he knows he will get removed from the situation. His cousins hit and attack freely, are forced to apologize but then quickly return to the hitting and attacking. I'd rather they not hit than apologize each time they do so.
We have three sets. One works on the behaviour, with less emphasis on the apologies. One works on the apologies with less (no?) emphasis on the behaviour. The other...doesn't really work on either. *sigh*

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#69 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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Fine. But, don't pretend that it's about the other person's feelings, because you have no idea how they feel about it. You want your child to know the social conventions - fine.
Likewise, StormBride, you shouldn't act as though you know the feelings of the person doing the apologizing. In many instances they may VERY WELL be truly sorry. Just because they commit the same offense again doesn't make them less sorry. Heaven knows I have yelled at my children more than once, and apologized and asked their forgiveness more than once - and I meant it EVERY SINGLE TIME.

In my opinion, it's just as unfair to judge which apologies you think are sincere or insincere as it is for me to judge whether or not you're really hurt by what I did or not.

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Okay - so it's not OK not to apologize. Do you have any suggestions for someone like my dd? I'd like her to learn to use those words, simply because I know that some people attach importance to them. However, I don't see how standing there, holding her arm, and going, "say you're sorry", while she cries her eyes out and/or screams is going to make anybody feel any better. I'm really kind of lost as to how anybody makes someone else say something, anyway.
I don't do that - did anyone say they did that? I usually pull the offender aside, explain what happened, how that felt to the person wronged, help them see how their actions or words caused hurt, then ask them to apologize. My kids are always very humble and very sincere in doing so.

I'm sorry you were bullied, by the way.
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#70 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 08:49 PM
 
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Likewise, StormBride, you shouldn't act as though you know the feelings of the person doing the apologizing. In many instances they may VERY WELL be truly sorry.
I very much agree with you, Sancta. Just because my ds is required to apologize does not mean that he is not sincere, or that we do not also focus on empathy and future behavior. We certainly do not allow him to cheerfully yell "SORRY!" and go right back to misbehaving.

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I usually pull the offender aside, explain what happened, how that felt to the person wronged, help them see how their actions or words caused hurt, then ask them to apologize. My kids are always very humble and very sincere in doing so.
Agreed. As I said before:

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Now, I don't grab ds up by the arm, parade him over to the other child, give him a shake, and demand in a loud voice that he apologize. I pull him aside, privately and sternly explain what was wrong and tell him that he needs to go apologize to the child that he hurt.
As a child care provider, I have dealt with two children who had problems apologizing. One starts crying when they have wronged or hurt someone and the other sits still as a rock and closes down--but neither will apologize. Like my own children, I take them aside and speak with them about what went wrong and how the other person feels. I request that they go apologize. If they continue to refuse, they are removed from the situation or activity. When they decide to make the apology, they are welcomed to rejoin the other children.

We also talk a LOT about feelings during our daily activities so that they gain an understanding of what kind of impact their actions might have on another person.

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#71 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 08:53 PM
 
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Whoa! This is a pretty heated "debate" on apologizing! Storm Bride I think you need to say you're sorry!


I also talk to my daughter immediately post offense & explain why what she did was wrong. We have explained and continue to explain the idea of "I'm sorry" to her e.g.

It means you understand your action hurt someone, even if it was an accident

It's nice to say and can help them feel better

It lets them know that you don't want to hurt them anymore

Now my daughter, more often than not, offers and apology and a hug when someone is wronged. e.g. "I'm sorry I yelled at you mama, I'll talk nicer" "Oops! I'm sorry I didn't mean to step on you (dog)!"

Nobody is forcing a screaming kid to say "I'm sorry." Teaching kids to say "I'm sorry" is no different than teaching them to say "Hello" and "Goodbye." They're cultural customs. If you think they're strange or unatainable you should visit the Middle East! There's some polite kids for you!



Storm Bride, you said ""I'm sorry" isn't magic. It's words." So are the harsh words of bullies. Words matter. One can take someone down with verbal arrows or heal open wounds with apologies.

Apologies are like a band aid. They don't make the owie go away, but they're a means towards healing. Children need to be taught basic communication and thoughtful gestures. They don't come built in. They're culturally ingrained.

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#72 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 09:06 PM
 
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Likewise, StormBride, you shouldn't act as though you know the feelings of the person doing the apologizing. In many instances they may VERY WELL be truly sorry. Just because they commit the same offense again doesn't make them less sorry. Heaven knows I have yelled at my children more than once, and apologized and asked their forgiveness more than once - and I meant it EVERY SINGLE TIME.
I happen to be talking about people who I know, for a fact, were forced to apologize (overheard it in some cases, flat-out asked in a couple of others). I don't usually jump to conclusions about that. I just don't think "I'm sorry" means anything, in and of itself.

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In my opinion, it's just as unfair to judge which apologies you think are sincere or insincere as it is for me to judge whether or not you're really hurt by what I did or not.
I know for a fact that they weren't sincere. My only point is that saying you have to apologize for the sake of the other person's feelings is based on jumping to conclusions.

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I don't do that - did anyone say they did that? I usually pull the offender aside, explain what happened, how that felt to the person wronged, help them see how their actions or words caused hurt, then ask them to apologize. My kids are always very humble and very sincere in doing so.
As I already posted, I never said that anybody here does that. It's what I would have to do, in order to make dd's behaviour "acceptable" or "OK".

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I'm sorry you were bullied, by the way.
Thank you.

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#73 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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As a child care provider, I have dealt with two children who had problems apologizing. One starts crying when they have wronged or hurt someone and the other sits still as a rock and closes down--but neither will apologize. Like my own children, I take them aside and speak with them about what went wrong and how the other person feels. I request that they go apologize. If they continue to refuse, they are removed from the situation or activity. When they decide to make the apology, they are welcomed to rejoin the other children.

We also talk a LOT about feelings during our daily activities so that they gain an understanding of what kind of impact their actions might have on another person.
So, they're removed. They still haven't apologized. What exactly has been accomplished? I only ask, because this is similar to how I've handled things with dd, and I think it's making her more resistant to apologizing to people. She already knows she's done something wrong, and being talked to about it gets her more worked up.

We talk about feelings all the time around here. In the heat of the moment, she doesn't care and/or is incapable of coping with it.

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#74 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Carley View Post
I also talk to my daughter immediately post offense & explain why what she did was wrong. We have explained and continue to explain the idea of "I'm sorry" to her e.g.

It means you understand your action hurt someone, even if it was an accident

It's nice to say and can help them feel better

It lets them know that you don't want to hurt them anymore
Well, this is problematic to me, because I don't believe it means any of those things. It means you've been trained to say "I'm sorry". That's what this whole thread is about, after all....being required to say "I'm sorry".

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Now my daughter, more often than not, offers and apology and a hug when someone is wronged. e.g. "I'm sorry I yelled at you mama, I'll talk nicer" "Oops! I'm sorry I didn't mean to step on you (dog)!"
Yeah - that's ds2, as well.

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Nobody is forcing a screaming kid to say "I'm sorry."
I've been talking about forced apologies, and the requirement to say "I'm sorry". If a child is screaming, and an apology is required, how do you solve this?

I'm still very confused as to how one can require a child to say "I'm sorry". I don't really get why one would do it, anyway...but I really don't see how. When I bring up the fact that dd would be freaking, everyone says, "we're not saying to hold a screaming kid by the arm"...but that's what happens if I try to require apologies. I'm not talking about your kids, or accusing anyone - I'm talking about my kid.

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Teaching kids to say "I'm sorry" is no different than teaching them to say "Hello" and "Goodbye."
So - do you think it's about the other person's feelings, or not? Every time we have one of these threads, people are arguing both points - that it's about the hurt person's feelings, and that it's a superficial social custom, all at once.

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Storm Bride, you said ""I'm sorry" isn't magic. It's words." So are the harsh words of bullies. Words matter. One can take someone down with verbal arrows or heal open wounds with apologies.
I've been taken down by plenty of verbal arrows. I've had one wound healed by an apology - and that was one of dozens, if not hundred, and was over 10 years after the injury itself. The thing is...those guys had actually thought about how they'd treated me, and what they'd put me through...and they felt bad. They didn't have a teacher mandating an apology from on high.

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Apologies are like a band aid. They don't make the owie go away, but they're a means towards healing.
Maybe for you. They're meaningless to me. They've never done anything to promote healing. People attempting to make amends is a means towards healing. Saying "I'm sorry" isn't making amends.

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Children need to be taught basic communication and thoughtful gestures. They don't come built in. They're culturally ingrained.
I don't think "I'm sorry" is a thoughtful gesture, and the fact that people are required to say it is part of what I'm talking about. If a child is required to say "I'm sorry" every time he/she commits an offense, then it's not thoughtful - it's trained in. "If I don't say 'I'm sorry', I don't get to play, anymore, so I better say it" is not rooted in thoughtfulness. It's rooted in being required to behave in a certain way.

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#75 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 09:33 PM
 
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So, they're removed. They still haven't apologized. What exactly has been accomplished? I only ask, because this is similar to how I've handled things with dd, and I think it's making her more resistant to apologizing to people. She already knows she's done something wrong, and being talked to about it gets her more worked up.

We talk about feelings all the time around here. In the heat of the moment, she doesn't care and/or is incapable of coping with it.
IMO, the removal of the child who is not in control of his/her emotions is exactly what has been accomplished. When you have a group of children, and one is hitting/hurting/taking away toys/etc., and then freaks out when called out on it, the children being wronged deserve to have that child calmed down and/or removed. And the emotional child deserves to be removed as well until he/she is able to have some space, regroup, and make the apology.

I completely understand how talking and talking about something gets a child more worked up and more resistant. I'm not a "talker" during very emotional outbursts. IME it makes the situation worse. We are very calm and matter of fact. I remove, I ask them (quietly) to get in control of their body/emotions, and come back to me when they are ready to apologize. Every child is different, but it has always worked for me.

If we were in public and ds was refusing to apologize to a stranger (playground, zoo, etc) and was out of control with his emotions I would have no choice but to apologize for him and leave. I would let him know ahead of time that if he wasn't able to calm down and apologize we would have to leave and let him make the decision. Luckily it has never happened, he has always chosen to make the apology.

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#76 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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IMO, the removal of the child who is not in control of his/her emotions is exactly what has been accomplished. When you have a group of children, and one is hitting/hurting/taking away toys/etc., and then freaks out when called out on it, the children being wronged deserve to have that child calmed down and/or removed. And the emotional child deserves to be removed as well until he/she is able to have some space, regroup, and make the apology.
I can see that in a group. OTOH, what about a kid like ds2, who will very sweetly say, "I'm sorry", and give the person a hug...and be smacking them or throwing something at them again 5 minutes later. (He thinks it's funny.)

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I completely understand how talking and talking about something gets a child more worked up and more resistant. I'm not a "talker" during very emotional outbursts. IME it makes the situation worse. We are very calm and matter of fact. I remove, I ask them (quietly) to get in control of their body/emotions, and come back to me when they are ready to apologize. Every child is different, but it has always worked for me.

If we were in public and ds was refusing to apologize to a stranger (playground, zoo, etc) and was out of control with his emotions I would have no choice but to apologize for him and leave. I would let him know ahead of time that if he wasn't able to calm down and apologize we would have to leave and let him make the decision. Luckily it has never happened, he has always chosen to make the apology.
DD hasn't. I think she's made the apology once. DS2 has missed out on a few things because of it, too.

I still have trouble seeing the value in it, though...

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#77 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 09:44 PM
 
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I'm sorry you were bullied, by the way.

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Thank you.

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#78 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 09:48 PM
 
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I wondered if anyone would jump on that... *sigh*

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#79 of 97 Old 06-09-2009, 10:20 PM
 
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I think it is literally impossible, to live in the world, and not realize that one's actions/words can have an impact on others.
Um, many, many people live this way though. They may *know* deep in their heads that their actions impact others but they live as though they don't, or they don't care. Unfortunately knowing is only half the battle.

Anyway, the way we do things with our boys (group home) is similar to many of you- we encourage apologies, talk about how important it is to make things right (whether with the other boys or to the adult the disrespect was directed toward) but we don't force them. As we all know, a forced apology is meaningless.

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#80 of 97 Old 06-10-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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Okay, here's what I'm thinking you're trying to say, Storm Bride.

Brian hits James. Mom says, "Say you're sorry." Brian says, "I'm sorry James." A bit later Brian kicks James. Mom says, "Say you're sorry." Brian says, "I'm sorry James." etc.....it goes on.

If this is what you mean, then I agree with you that I'm sorry means nothing. It's a forced response. Brian is learning nothing other than when you hurt someone you have to say those words, then you get to continue with the behavior.

BUT - read what you say here:

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Originally Posted by Storm Bride
The thing is...those guys had actually thought about how they'd treated me, and what they'd put me through...and they felt bad. They didn't have a teacher mandating an apology from on high.
What we do (parents who "force" apologies) is exactly this. We don't just stand there like Brian's Mom, forcing the words to be said just because. And quite honestly, the whole socially acceptable mandate thing isn't why I force apologies either. I do it because kids are still in their learning, formative periods and what I help them learn now they will hopefully have with them later. And what am I trying to teach them? Empathy.

SO, if Brother hits Sister, I don't just rattle off "Say I'm sorry." I pull him aside and talk to him. "Did you hit her? WHY did you hit her? She's crying now - you hurt her. Do you know that you hurt her? How do you feel about that? What if she would have hit you - would you have liked that? Wouldn't you have been sad too? Now she doesn't want to play with you because you hurt her." So what I'm doing is helping him think about what he did to he hurt her, and how she is hurting. What he put her through. The thing is if I'm not there helping my toddler how to figure this out, he won't do it himself.

Then, after he thinks about all this and realizes what he's done, and agrees that he caused her pain and wouldn't want the pain to have been caused to him, comes the "Don't you think you need to tell her you're sorry?" And he tells her he's sorry. And he doesn't repeat the behavior for a long time, because he understands.

The problem for me is that if you DON'T help them through this and coach them to think about their behavior and apologize, then you may have lost a valuable teaching moment, because kids aren't going to sit in their rooms at night and think about the day's events and remember every time they may have hurt someone. An adult can do that, but kids don't. (That's the same reason we immediately dole out consequences for bad actions because if we wait even a few hours they don't remember what they did wrong anymore! They can't see the connection.)

Anyway, all this said, I'm only trying to teach empathy by those words. I want my kids to understand two things.

1. That when they hurt someone, they need to understand HOW they hurt that person and realize that another person has been injured by THEIR behavior

2. That when they have been hurt, if someone offers apology and tries to change their ways that forgiveness is a noble thing as well.

That's it. Does this make sense?
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#81 of 97 Old 06-10-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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SO, if Brother hits Sister, I don't just rattle off "Say I'm sorry." I pull him aside and talk to him. "Did you hit her? WHY did you hit her? She's crying now - you hurt her. Do you know that you hurt her? How do you feel about that? What if she would have hit you - would you have liked that? Wouldn't you have been sad too? Now she doesn't want to play with you because you hurt her." So what I'm doing is helping him think about what he did to he hurt her, and how she is hurting. What he put her through. The thing is if I'm not there helping my toddler how to figure this out, he won't do it himself.

Then, after he thinks about all this and realizes what he's done, and agrees that he caused her pain and wouldn't want the pain to have been caused to him, comes the "Don't you think you need to tell her you're sorry?" And he tells her he's sorry. And he doesn't repeat the behavior for a long time, because he understands.

The problem for me is that if you DON'T help them through this and coach them to think about their behavior and apologize, then you may have lost a valuable teaching moment, because kids aren't going to sit in their rooms at night and think about the day's events and remember every time they may have hurt someone. An adult can do that, but kids don't. (That's the same reason we immediately dole out consequences for bad actions because if we wait even a few hours they don't remember what they did wrong anymore! They can't see the connection.)

Anyway, all this said, I'm only trying to teach empathy by those words. I want my kids to understand two things.

1. That when they hurt someone, they need to understand HOW they hurt that person and realize that another person has been injured by THEIR behavior

2. That when they have been hurt, if someone offers apology and tries to change their ways that forgiveness is a noble thing as well.

That's it. Does this make sense?
I totally agree with this, this is exactly how I approach apologies with my kids as well.

Storm Bride, you clearly had some negative experiences in the past with people offering insincere apologies after they had wronged you. I can certainly understand how that would color your opinion on this matter. However I think you're possibly being a bit unfair in assuming that everyone else is somehow also being insincere or encouraging a lack of sincerity by requiring an apology from their children.

The word sorry may mean nothing to you, but please don't deny that it can and often does mean a great deal to others. When I and many others say we are sorry, we use it to acknowledge that we wronged that person and to also let him or her know that we have remorse for our actions. I'm sorry is shorthand for that longer message much like thank you is shorthand for "I greatly appreciate your time, effort and kindness and want to acknowledge that to you directly." I'm sure there are some folks out there who take issue with others not using the longer and more verbose statement over the shorter thank you, but it would be similarly unfair for someone with this opinion to assume that anyone else who crosses his path would know not to say thank you and use the longer expression of gratitude instead.

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#82 of 97 Old 06-10-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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We don't force it here. But they must here me say Sorry a lot, because my dd says she is sorry to everyone and everything. She bumped into her wipes box the other day and said "Sorry Wipes" lol I must say it a lot.
That is soo cute.
I think sorry is a word that is used very loosely now a days. I had a 4 year old cousin whose Mother took him to a wedding. He went up to the bride and told her she was ugly(??? for whatever reason). My Aunt told him to say sorry immediately, so in response he said" I'M SORRY YOUR UGLY". It was soooo funny. Wrong but funny!
But are there really not times when a person does something and they are not sorry? Although it hurt someone else they just are not SORRY!!!!!Why is that not ok? I once told a woman to go to hell and die? Am I sorry NO!!!!! Still feel that way and don't care that it hurt her feelings. I'm just not sure that you always have to be remorseful for how you truly feel.
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#83 of 97 Old 06-12-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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Okay, here's what I'm thinking you're trying to say, Storm Bride.

Brian hits James. Mom says, "Say you're sorry." Brian says, "I'm sorry James." A bit later Brian kicks James. Mom says, "Say you're sorry." Brian says, "I'm sorry James." etc.....it goes on.

If this is what you mean, then I agree with you that I'm sorry means nothing. It's a forced response. Brian is learning nothing other than when you hurt someone you have to say those words, then you get to continue with the behavior.

BUT - read what you say here:



What we do (parents who "force" apologies) is exactly this. We don't just stand there like Brian's Mom, forcing the words to be said just because. And quite honestly, the whole socially acceptable mandate thing isn't why I force apologies either. I do it because kids are still in their learning, formative periods and what I help them learn now they will hopefully have with them later. And what am I trying to teach them? Empathy.

SO, if Brother hits Sister, I don't just rattle off "Say I'm sorry." I pull him aside and talk to him. "Did you hit her? WHY did you hit her? She's crying now - you hurt her. Do you know that you hurt her? How do you feel about that? What if she would have hit you - would you have liked that? Wouldn't you have been sad too? Now she doesn't want to play with you because you hurt her." So what I'm doing is helping him think about what he did to he hurt her, and how she is hurting. What he put her through. The thing is if I'm not there helping my toddler how to figure this out, he won't do it himself.

Then, after he thinks about all this and realizes what he's done, and agrees that he caused her pain and wouldn't want the pain to have been caused to him, comes the "Don't you think you need to tell her you're sorry?" And he tells her he's sorry. And he doesn't repeat the behavior for a long time, because he understands.

The problem for me is that if you DON'T help them through this and coach them to think about their behavior and apologize, then you may have lost a valuable teaching moment, because kids aren't going to sit in their rooms at night and think about the day's events and remember every time they may have hurt someone. An adult can do that, but kids don't. (That's the same reason we immediately dole out consequences for bad actions because if we wait even a few hours they don't remember what they did wrong anymore! They can't see the connection.)

Anyway, all this said, I'm only trying to teach empathy by those words. I want my kids to understand two things.

1. That when they hurt someone, they need to understand HOW they hurt that person and realize that another person has been injured by THEIR behavior

2. That when they have been hurt, if someone offers apology and tries to change their ways that forgiveness is a noble thing as well.

That's it. Does this make sense?
Sure, it makes sense. I just don't see what "I'm sorry" has to do with it. As I said, dd is the one who just won't say it (I think she's said it once), but she's also the one who will feel terrible, for a long time, about hurting someone. She gets really mad or whatever, but once she calms down, she really thinks about it, and realizes someone was hurt. DS2 will say "I'm sorry" at the drop of a hat, including a hug and kiss, most of the time. But, it doesn't sink in, and so far, at least, he's probably the least empathetic of my kids...the most likely to say sorry, but the least likely to actually be upset about or relate to the fact that he hurt someone.

And...dd doesn't accept apologies very well, either. They make her mad. What I find with her is that when someone is forced to apologize to her, it's usually too soon, and she's nowhere near ready to hear it.

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#84 of 97 Old 06-12-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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I totally agree with this, this is exactly how I approach apologies with my kids as well.

Storm Bride, you clearly had some negative experiences in the past with people offering insincere apologies after they had wronged you. I can certainly understand how that would color your opinion on this matter. However I think you're possibly being a bit unfair in assuming that everyone else is somehow also being insincere or encouraging a lack of sincerity by requiring an apology from their children.
I do not understand how anybody can require a sincere apology. If children are being required to apologize, then they're not being required to have empathy - they're being required to say "I'm sorry". Teaching kids about empathy and requiring them to say "I'm sorry" are two different things.

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The word sorry may mean nothing to you, but please don't deny that it can and often does mean a great deal to others. When I and many others say we are sorry, we use it to acknowledge that we wronged that person and to also let him or her know that we have remorse for our actions.
Fine. That's what it means to you, and to many others. But, what it actually means is "I've been taught to say this".

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I'm sorry is shorthand for that longer message much like thank you is shorthand for "I greatly appreciate your time, effort and kindness and want to acknowledge that to you directly."
Yeah, well, lots of people say "thank you" without appreciating anything, too, so I'm not sure what your point is.

Quote:
I'm sure there are some folks out there who take issue with others not using the longer and more verbose statement over the shorter thank you, but it would be similarly unfair for someone with this opinion to assume that anyone else who crosses his path would know not to say thank you and use the longer expression of gratitude instead.
I don't care what words people use - long or short is irrelevant to me. If you say "thank you" or "I greatly appreciate your time, effort and kindness and want to acknowledge that to you directly" and then make it clear through your actions that you don't appreciate what I did at all, then...so what? Likewise, if someone doesn't say anything, but their actions tell me that they appreciate what I did, that's wonderful.

Talk is cheap. On these boards, thread after thread after thread about teaching children to use particular words pops up. Children are required to say "please", "thank you" and "I'm sorry". The argument is that these words are important, because they demonstrate respect, appreciation, remorse, etc. But, they don't. They mean "I was taught (required) to say this". In some cases, they mean more than that...but they have almost no inherent meaning at all.

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#85 of 97 Old 06-12-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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I do not understand how anybody can require a sincere apology. If children are being required to apologize, then they're not being required to have empathy - they're being required to say "I'm sorry". Teaching kids about empathy and requiring them to say "I'm sorry" are two different things.

Children are required to say "please", "thank you" and "I'm sorry". The argument is that these words are important, because they demonstrate respect, appreciation, remorse, etc. But, they don't. They mean "I was taught (required) to say this". In some cases, they mean more than that...but they have almost no inherent meaning at all.
Teaching kids words, encouraging/prompting/forcing them to say them and teaching them what they mean in context are not different things.

Children can be taught to say something AND taught what it means at the same time e.g. "Hello" "Goodbye" "Please" "Thank you" "I'm sorry" "Excuse me" "I want some fish" "I love you" whatever. As they learn and practice IN CONTEXT they learn the bigger meanings.

They learn to say "I want some fish please" in order to be polite when they want some fish. They learn to say "Bye mom" instead of "Goodbye," reflecting the impact practice and encouragement have on understanding language. They learn to say "I need space" when they need space.

They also understand "USE YOUR WORDS" If I didn't teach my kid whining and crying wasn't acceptable and she must use her words to be polite and understood then she'd probably be whining & crying for everything.

Even BABIES can be taught words and their meanings at the same time, hence sign language is so popular. At first the signs might mean "I was taught (required) to say this" under these circumstances but as they practice they learn the bigger meaning. A

s they get older we have them say "Hungry" instead of a sign. The bright ones know when to say it from the practice they had when they were babies. "When I'm hungry and I say "Hungry" like Mommy tells me I get food." It's the same as "When I hit someone and I say "I'm sorry" like Mommy tells me my friends feel better."

If I hadn't taught my daughter "I want that" vs. "I want that please" and what it meant she would never say it and have very few friends at the park. Instead I made her say it in context and now she clearly knows what it means AND that it is polite. She understands complex concepts and learns quickly. I suppose my child is just more brilliant than yours

Part of learning anything is doing it. When I took German and Spanish I was prompted to recite words and phrases and as I did I learned what they meant and how the words could be used in various scenarios. I was forced at times to speak even though it was uncomfortable for me and I didn't fully grasp the expansive definitions of various contexts. The continuous repetition and practice in various contexts made me a fluent speaker. Learning how words can be used takes repetition and being taught by someone who knows better.

When my daughter hurts anyone, including me, she offers and apology and a hug NOT because she memorized a word, but because she was taught what it means, when to say it in context and, consequently, understands it makes the other person she hurt feel better. She knows this concept because she's been prompted AND taught in context as she was developing

You seem toootally bitter and angry about teaching children common courtesy. I don't get it, but we're all free to have our own opinions and baggage. You are totally free to have completely rude children who have no idea how to be social with the rest of the Western world. It's clear none of our opinions matter to you. I hope your kids aren't terribly confused as to why other children get upset when they take their toy & other parents are put off by their lack of manners.

When I was a teen I was fat AND in special education. I know all about teasing. It's not nice, and neither is not receiving or offering an apology. I conciously choose to let that baggage go so I can teach my daughter how to be nice and polite

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#86 of 97 Old 06-12-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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Talk is cheap. On these boards, thread after thread after thread about teaching children to use particular words pops up. Children are required to say "please", "thank you" and "I'm sorry". The argument is that these words are important, because they demonstrate respect, appreciation, remorse, etc. But, they don't. They mean "I was taught (required) to say this". In some cases, they mean more than that...but they have almost no inherent meaning at all.
Okay, let me ask you this. What if your kids never, ever, EVER told you they loved you? Ever. What if your hubby or SO never told you? Maybe they showed it by their actions, but they refused (or were too embarrassed) to ever verbalize it. You could tell them you loved them over and over, but they would never, ever, ever return the words.

Could you handle NEVER hearing it from them? Just asking, because those are "just words" too....
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#87 of 97 Old 06-12-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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Okay, let me ask you this. What if your kids never, ever, EVER told you they loved you? Ever. What if your hubby or SO never told you? Maybe they showed it by their actions, but they refused (or were too embarrassed) to ever verbalize it. You could tell them you loved them over and over, but they would never, ever, ever return the words.

Could you handle NEVER hearing it from them? Just asking, because those are "just words" too....
I don't know. They say it. OTOH, my ex said it way more than dh does - and it infuriated me. Meaningless noise.

It's nice to hear "I love you", but it doesn't really mean that much. DS2 gives me incredibly nice cuddles, and I'd rather have those than the words. DH? DH doesn't say it that much, and I rarely even think about it.

So - I like hearing it, but...yeah, I think I could handle never hearing it. I know dh loves me, and I know the kids love me...and I know they could say they love me, no matter what they were really feeling.

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#88 of 97 Old 06-12-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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Carley...on my way out the door, but will try to remember to address your post later. However, you seem to have jumped to some conclusions. I don't have the greatest manners in some ways, because I'm very social phobic, and it throws me into a very antisocial state in company a lot of the time. However, I was taught all the common courtesies, and my evil grandmother was all about how rude people were if they didn't use the magic formulas.

As for my kid? DS1 is very polite, and very socially adept. I've received multiple compliments on how polite he is, and I can't think of anyone, adult or peer, who has ever met him who didn't like him. His manners are exceptionally good, and when I once thanked him for behaving so well at a really, really, really long and boring funeral, he told me that he "had to be quiet, out of respect for Uncle A". So...yeah...you can jump to whatever conclusions you want about me and my family. I won't force my children to say things they don't mean, but that doesn't mean I'm raising rude kids with no idea how to behave.

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#89 of 97 Old 06-16-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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She understands complex concepts and learns quickly. I suppose my child is just more brilliant than yours



I think this statement lacks ALL kinds of manners. You don't have to have a brilliant child to have a polite child. I think some kids can say their sorry without any words at all. My son has not said he loves me( he's only 22 months) but I get random hugs and kisses and those are more special to me than any words he has to say. And if he accidentally hurts me he doesn't say "sorry" he kisses where he hurt me. Because he does not say, please thank you or sorry does not mean he is not brilliant. He just has other ways of communicating his feelings.
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#90 of 97 Old 06-16-2009, 01:04 AM
 
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huh interesting. (truly no argumentative tone here)

it never even occurred to me that some parents do not guide their children to apologize, or do not expect it in some cases.

i always lumped it in with please and thank you. 'you bumped timmy, what do you say?"

i teach dd that way b/c i know that she is a very interactive and verbal child. she is catching on. when she tugs my hair too hard or uses her new teeth (HOLY COWS) she already goes 'mum ta' (not sure what the ta means exactly, but the tone is obviously apologetic ha!")

i suppose if the situation contained elements of a shy, small child and a stranger, i might just apologize for the child.

now i wonder if those few times where i observed a kid not apologize were simply a parental difference.

mdc is so cool!

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