Teaching Children to Make Amends

Parents often urge children to immediately apologize. And although that is not out of bad intentions, it can be counterproductive. Other children see a lack of authenticity, and a child forced to apologize is learning to feign remorse. But what is the right way to apologize? And what is the process that may be needed to get a genuine apology? How do we help our children learn the skill of apologizing, when saying “I’m sorry” can even be challenging for adults? 

Knowing how to make amends is a very valuable life skill. So how can we help our children cultivate the skills to learn how to make amends and, when ready, provide a genuine apology? 

  1. Try to begin by giving them and you a quick pause or a moment. This can provide the space needed to allow for awareness, guidance, and help. 
  1. Do a quick check-in with yourself. By helping children learn a process, it is more likely they will be able to complete the process on their own in the future.   
  1. Try to take in the situation. It may be helpful to verbally acknowledge their feelings. Helping children describe a situation and name their feelings can sometimes help their feelings seem less overwhelming. It can also let them know that you are trying to understand how they are feeling. 
  1. Help them empathize and solve problems in order to find a way to make amends. If they are having difficulty coming up with a solution, then it is OK to offer some suggestions. But keep in mind, some children need to take a period after their misbehavior in order to get to a more sincere “sorry.” 
  1. Discuss prevention strategies.  
  1. Modeling appropriate behavior is always another valuable way to teach and influence our children.  

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

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