A news feed popped up with this story outlining "5 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids"
One section caught my attention and I was curious whether the majority agree or disagree with this section... suggesting that you should never instruct your toddler/preschooler to "Say you're sorry!":
Michele Borba, a children's behavior expert, and one of our contributing authors here onsite, expressed a different pov within her article "Bad-Manners Makeover: 5 Easy Steps to Tuning Up Your Kid's Civility." I have read a number of other "expert" advice that each also promoted teaching your child to apologize in their early years -- explaining why it is important based upon their level of comprehension."Say you're sorry!"
Your preschooler takes a toy from another child and makes him or her cry. You instantly tell your child to say sorry for his or her actions. You're trying to teach your child to be compassionate, which is a laudable goal. But "forcing a child to apologize does not teach a child social skills," says Bill Corbett, a parent educator, author, and producer/host of the parenting TV show "Creating Cooperative Kids." Young children don't automatically understand why they have to apologize. Corbett says that if parent forces a child to say they are sorry, "it could delay the child's natural acceptance" of apologizing. Try this: Apologize to the child for your kid as a way to model the behavior you're trying to encourage. And make sure that when you're in situations where an apology is warranted, you deliver it just as easily.
How do you handle these situations (or plan to for those still TTC?) Do you agree with this article's premise?
Last edited by MissyJ; 05-05-2012 at 01:12 AM.
I tell my kids to say they are sorry to each other and to others. Just as I tell them to say please and thank you. I don't see the difference between reminding them to give thanks to someone and to remind them they should say they are sorry.
Mom to E and C
I tell DD to say she's sorry once I can see that she is remorseful and will actually mean it. We don't force her to say sorry if she isn't though. Although that usually results in more time talking about it or in time out until she is sorry.
We actually don't force an immediate "I'm sorry" as I don't feel that they are usually very authentic, it is easy to tell when a child is actually sorry or not. So, we let them go to the other room or their room with the instruction that when they are ready and able to explain why they are sorry and give their sib a hug, they may return.
I think that the columnist is over thinking it a little bit....but I also thing that a begrudging or bratty "SORRY" shouldn't be worth anything.
I would be ticked if my kids were playing with others and they did something that deserved an apology and the parent didn't "make" their kid say sorry. Now by "make" I mean whatever manner they so chose to use, wether it's time out until they are truly sorry or talking to them right there.
I have noticed with my one daughter, that she will sit in time out for a LONG time just to not say it. And when she finally comes out it's just so she can play again, not because she realizes what she did is wrong. I think they are too young for that. Luckily they usually remind eachother to say sorry. For example, if Brooke hits or takes a toy from Addison, Addison won't play with Brooke anymore and she will tell her to appologize. I find for us that works the best. But each family is different and each kid is different and needs to be dealt with in a different manner. What works for one kid may not work with another.
Usually, a timeout precedes an apology in our house. Both kids know that after the timeout they must be able to tell us why they had a timeout, then follow up with something like "I'm sorry for pinching you", not just an off-the-cuff 'sorry'. We do expect both kids to apologize for their actions and I couldn't see myself apologizing on their behalf. For my kids, esp DD, that might teach them that they don't need to be held accountable for their negative behaviour. My kids usually apologize without prompting though. If we do prompt, it's usually "What do you say to your brother/sister?" and an apology and hug is always quick to follow.
We expect an apology immediately even if it's bratty. Then we talk to him to explain why he needs to apologize and so far he's always chosen to go back and give a real one.
I don't think I'd be happy with an adult apologizing for a child who's old enough to do it for themselves. It would seriously make me hesitate to have them in our lives as I've noticed a huge trend in parents around here who let their kids do whatever without any real consequences and I'd prefer not to have to deal with the issues those kids are going to have.
I have no qualms apologizing to my kid when I've done something that was upsetting without thinking. We constantly laugh at him and he takes himself very seriously so I'll apologise when I can tell it upsets him.
We explain first before expecting an apology out of DD. I want her to know WHY she is apologizing first; just like I want her to know why she is saying please or thank you. It's pointless, I think, if they don't know WHY they are saying certain things.