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#1 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi ladies.

My daughter, 3yrs 2 mo, has "trouble" apologizing, and I'm not sure how to help her through this (without being coercive - a forced apology in my mind is worse than no apology).

Let me add that I consider a hug, or even just an aknowedlegment of hurt feelings or whatever the issue was, "counts" as an apology.

Example: my daughter (and son) have a nanny here, 3x per week, in the mornings, while I work in my home office. DD & DS love their nanny. But, transitions are hard. When time comes for her to leave, often my daughter will start shouting, things like, "I don't want you to be here. just leave." etc. etc. and sometimes will start being agressive as well. I always aknowldge how she must feel having nanny leave, but tell her that an angry voice/words can hurt feelings & we don't want to use those types of words. I also reiterate that we don't hit in this family, we want nanny to be happy to be around us, so we want to be kind, on & on. I have asked DD to apologize, she flatly refuses. She also wil say that she wants to apologize (with me, in private, during some quiet time), but then when confronted with the person in question, either ramps back up her agression or angry words, or just "forgets about it" - goes back to playing normally, as if nothing happened.

Though obviously something happened.

So. Is it enough for her to just talk with me privately about understanding that she may have caused hurt feelings, and/or hit/swatted & knowing that's not acceptable (she will say to me that she knows the "rules" and why we can't do certain things), or is there a way to help her aknowledge & apologize to the person that was hurt - and is this necessary now, or is it something that she'll just mature into with age?

FWIW, my nanny's son is always so "forgiving" - will come right up to her & hug her, says sorry right away, etc. etc., and he's younger than she!

I understand children are all different temperment-wise, but it is difficult to see that my daughter, around others, really doesn't want to be forgiving/ask forgiveness (though with me or her dad privately, or even just with her brother, she has no problem).
Is it just that I feel a sense of embarrasment or responsibility for her actions myself, and just want to absolve her misbehavior so that whomever (moms at playgroup, nanny, etc.) thinks I'm a good mom, or is there really some value in getting an apology?

I personally am a person very quick to apologize, and so it is difficult for me to watch her be able to go on with her day "normally" without apologizing for something she has done/said. But like I said, I REALLY don't want to coerce an apology - iI feel its a bad lesson, I see kids do this all the time, and adults as well, and if its not heartfelt, its not an apology. I want her to WANT to apologize - because its the right thing to do - because it makes everyone feel better.

Any words of wisdom....?
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#2 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 01:04 PM
 
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I don't really care if it's not sincere...........what from a 3 year old is sincere except "I want mama!" and "I have to go potty!"??

I think it teaches a worse lesson that you the child can get away without acknowledging that they've hurt someone else.

If it were me, I'd force the apology and my child would not be able to play again until they apologized. If you hurt someone, you apologize. Heck, even grown ups offer insincere apologies because it's the right, nice thing to do.

Your child doesn't apologize now because she knows she ultimately doesn't have to. So really it's just up to you how important it is that you teach her to apologize or not.
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#3 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 03:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ks Mama View Post
I personally am a person very quick to apologize, and so it is difficult for me to watch her be able to go on with her day "normally" without apologizing for something she has done/said. But like I said, I REALLY don't want to coerce an apology - iI feel its a bad lesson, I see kids do this all the time, and adults as well, and if its not heartfelt, its not an apology. I want her to WANT to apologize - because its the right thing to do - because it makes everyone feel better.

Any words of wisdom....?
This is how I feel about apologies, as well. I don't want to teach DD that saying some words by rote make things better.

When someone has done something to me that hurts, it means more to me when they try to "undo" the hurt by showing some kindness. My DH rarely says the words, "I'm sorry," but he will, instead, cook dinner for me, or offer to make me coffee, or attempt to fix the wrong with behavior. It would be even better if he combined this with the verbal acknowledgement that he is sorry, but of the two, the behavior speaks much more loudly than the words, and I appreciate the behavior more than the words. For whatever reason, some people find it hard to say those words. Maybe it makes them feel TOO humble, or too powerless.

If DD hurts someone, I first bring her attention to the behavior: "Ouch! That hurt Megan!"

Next, I show concern for the victim: "Megan, that must have hurt! Are you okay?"

After the "victim" is taken care of, I talk to DD about her behavior, asking if she is ready to help Megan feel better. If she is not, I try to reflect to DD what she must be feeling, get her side of it, etc. Then try again to focus on how the victim feels and how we can make things better.

It might be a long time later before DD is ready to deal with it. The victim might not even be present. But DD might be willing to do something for the person to give to her the next day, such as make a card saying she is sorry, or drawing a picture for the victim, or something that shows DD is interested in helping the victim feel better after having hurt her. I think its important to wait until she is ready to deal with what she has done, not force it before she is ready, and one way to get her ready is by making sure she is heard and her feelings are addressed.

By showing concern for the victim myself instead of forcing DD to do it, I feel less likely to be embarrassed in front of other parents because I am doing something (acknowledging that their child was wronged and helping their child to feel better and modeling for my DD what compassion looks like). Sometimes DD joins in while I am showing concern. I think it helps DD to be more "free" to process her response when she is not put on the spot and the attention is not on her for a few minutes.

There are a few really good old threads in this forum that have talked about this issue. I'll try to search them out.



Here's some:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ight=apologies

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ight=apologies
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#4 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post

If DD hurts someone, I first bring her attention to the behavior: "Ouch! That hurt Megan!"

Next, I show concern for the victim: "Megan, that must have hurt! Are you okay?"

After the "victim" is taken care of, I talk to DD about her behavior, asking if she is ready to help Megan feel better. If she is not, I try to reflect to DD what she must be feeling, get her side of it, etc. Then try again to focus on how the victim feels and how we can make things better.

It might be a long time later before DD is ready to deal with it. The victim might not even be present. But DD might be willing to do something for the person to give to her the next day, such as make a card saying she is sorry, or drawing a picture for the victim, or something that shows DD is interested in helping the victim feel better after having hurt her. I think its important to wait until she is ready to deal with what she has done, not force it before she is ready, and one way to get her ready is by making sure she is heard and her feelings are addressed.

By showing concern for the victim myself instead of forcing DD to do it, I feel less likely to be embarrassed in front of other parents because I am doing something (acknowledging that their child was wronged and helping their child to feel better and modeling for my DD what compassion looks like). Sometimes DD joins in while I am showing concern. I think it helps DD to be more "free" to process her response when she is not put on the spot and the attention is not on her for a few minutes.
^ This is what I believe sorry is, not a forced word or action.

In our house 'sorry' has three parts - acknowledging it, fixing it, and preventing it in the future.

The first step is easily taken care of. The child has to realize what she did and how it hurt the other person! "Oh, John's cup! I broke it!" or

"Oh, look - I wonder how John is going to feel."

"Mad at me."

Then fixing it:
"How can we help him feel better?"Brainstorm together and come up with a solution or two, acting on it.
Then preventing it:
"Here's a pillow you can hit when you get angry. Do you want to help me make an angry corner to calm down in?" And work on verbal techniques to calm down.

Anothermama, I don't like forcing a child to say they are sorry. Whatever feelings they had, you just stole them and replaced with resentment and embarassment, or leaving a void because they don't own the problem - you do. You take it away and with that you take away the responsibility and personal growth that might have come with it. You take away the confidence they could be growing to deal with a problem effectively.

Saying 'sorry' doesn't get anyone too far. It's the actions that surround that word that mend our relationships.

K's mama, I do think at this age that acknowledging it with you alone is a perfect introduction, but I love BellinghamCrunchie's suggestion of a card or something of that sort to show how she feels to the nanny.
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#5 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
^ This is what I believe sorry is, not a forced word or action.

In our house 'sorry' has three parts - acknowledging it, fixing it, and preventing it in the future.

The first step is easily taken care of. The child has to realize what she did and how it hurt the other person! "Oh, John's cup! I broke it!" or

"Oh, look - I wonder how John is going to feel."

"Mad at me."

Then fixing it:
"How can we help him feel better?"Brainstorm together and come up with a solution or two, acting on it.
Then preventing it:
"Here's a pillow you can hit when you get angry. Do you want to help me make an angry corner to calm down in?" And work on verbal techniques to calm down.

Anothermama, I don't like forcing a child to say they are sorry. Whatever feelings they had, you just stole them and replaced with resentment and embarassment, or leaving a void because they don't own the problem - you do. You take it away and with that you take away the responsibility and personal growth that might have come with it. You take away the confidence they could be growing to deal with a problem effectively.

Saying 'sorry' doesn't get anyone too far. It's the actions that surround that word that mend our relationships.

K's mama, I do think at this age that acknowledging it with you alone is a perfect introduction, but I love BellinghamCrunchie's suggestion of a card or something of that sort to show how she feels to the nanny.
:

Completly agree with what you have said! This is how it works in our house as well. The '3 parts of sorry' is a good example of how to show and teach this. For me, its more important that the 'sorry' actually mean something and you cant force that. When parents force their child to say sorry, it means nothing (anyone can just say sorry iyswim)...if the parents are sorry though (for their childs actions) why dont they just say it! lol If my ds does something that other parents would usually force their child to say sorry about, I will just say sorry to the child - as I mean it even if my son doesnt. If my son means it though, he will say it and does say it!
I feel the same about manners (such as please and thank you) ...now those things are said alot in this house and because of that my son have really good manners!

Also - (as known so well! hehe) - Children learn best by example! As its not something I often have to say to my ds, I will exaggerate it a bit for him! (as in saying sorry to something that normally wouldnt get a sorry)...such as... Like apologising to the cat for tripping him up! lol
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#6 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 04:05 PM
 
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[QUOTE=ann_of_loxley;9730133)...such as... Like apologising to the cat for tripping him up! lol[/QUOTE]

Lol, yes... I've even apologized to a caterpillar for knocking him off his leaf while I was weeding, then put him back on his leaf. Its hard sometimes to find enough opportunities to model apologies.
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#7 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 05:39 PM
 
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I model apologies as well. Seems to work just fine. Different kids develop different ways of expressing themselves.

I'm sure it'll come with time.
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#8 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 07:20 PM
 
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I had my first experience with this today. DD pushed another child. The child wasn't hurt, but she did cry. I saw DD's face as she was doing it (but couldn't get there fast enough to prevent it) and she looked curious. LIke "What will happen if I do this?" I also strongly disagree with forcing apologies. Here's what I did:

Immediately picked up the other child. Asked her if she was okay. Hugged her and brought her to her Mama. Told her mother that my DD had pushed her child, then apologised to both the mother and the child again. Then I got down on DD's level looked her in the eyes and said "DD, that is unacceptable. We do not push people. Pushing hurts. Now [other child] is sad and hurt. We do not push. Do you understand?" DD said "Yes" I said "Would you like to tell her you're sorry?" DD looking very shy and sad said "No." I said "Ok, but you need to work on not doing that again. Can you do that?" DD said "yes" and I left it at that.

I don't know if I handled it in the best possible way. But I do feel that I modled genuine empathy for both the hurt child and the mother, so DD saw that. Plus, while I did let DD know that pushing was not okay, I didn't humiliate or shame her. As I said this is the first time that DD has been the pusher (she's been the push-ee many times) so this is new for me.

Fortunately the other mom and I are on the same page discipline wise and she cleary wasn't expecting, and would have been uncomfortable with, a forced apology. I think that situation would have been a lot wierder if the other mom was into forced apologies. Because then she might have gotten angry with me for not making DD apologise. I think that would have probably been a lot more painful, and is maybe why sometimes people do force a child to apologise. It's not for the hurt child it's for the other adults...
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#9 of 12 Old 11-14-2007, 07:40 PM
 
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I think that would have probably been a lot more painful, and is maybe why sometimes people do force a child to apologise. It's not for the hurt child it's for the other adults...
I really think so! If a child has to be forced to apologise...would the child getting the 'forced apology' even care? If an adult says 'sorry' to another adult - they know what it means and they can appreciate it. So really, I feel forced apologies are for the adults! I have often felt that I should make my ds say 'sorry'...in the situation you have mentioned...if the mother wasnt on the same page of dicipline as I am (and ive really yet to meet another like minded mother lol) - givin me that angry expectant look...I will chim in quickly (as is waddle off) that my ds cant talk yet. (and though he looks 3, hes only just 2 and really not much of a talker!)..so I have genuine excuse lol
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#10 of 12 Old 11-15-2007, 04:05 PM
 
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With apologies, as well as 'please,' 'thankyou,' and 'excuse me,' I say them when dd doesn't say them for herself. She says them more and more often.

I think it would be great for you to apologize to the nanny for your dd, both because you probably are awfully sorry your little rat yelled at her and because you will be modeling for dd.

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#11 of 12 Old 11-15-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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i dont want my kids apologizing unless they mean it. its a lie unles its meant, imo.

someone taught my oldest to do it and now im trying to get hm to stop.

i dont know what to do, though.
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#12 of 12 Old 11-15-2007, 11:21 PM
 
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I don't force my 29mo lad to apologize, but I tell him whatever (e.g. hitting, spitting ) was not okay and that he needs to make it better. Then I tell him some ways to accomplish that, such as asking the other person if they're okay, offering a gentle hug/kiss/handshake, or retrieving whatever he may have dropped or swiped from the other person (most often 7mo DS2). I then say, "if you feel sorry, you can say 'I'm sorry'." He almost always says 'I'm sorry' then. I'm not too sure this is the best way of handling such scenarios, so this thread is very helpful.

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