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Ever since I became a mother, I noticed a common behaviour in children. Whenever they were asked or rather “forced” to say ‘Sorry’, they just kept mum. They just wouldn’t say sorry, or even if they did, it would just be an insincere one. And I wondered, how could children at such a young age refuse to apologise? Then after much analysing, I understood that sorry was always associated with force or humiliating a child. And that’s how children start associating this important word “sorry” with something that lets them down or humiliates them. And that’s exactly not what the word is meant to do. But, parents’ or caregivers’ actions tend to associate a negative feeling with saying sorry.
Sorry should be made to feel like a nice and respectful word, only then children will say it. Don’t humiliate or force a child to say sorry. If your child does not say sorry after doing something wrong do not say he is bad. Rather explain to him what he did, how it affected the other person and how would he feel if someone did the same to him. Doing this helps in improving their understanding of their mistakes and its consequences and they are then truly apologetic. It is much better than force which would have yielded just a fake sorry.
Yesterday, my son threw his father’s new sunglasses. I explained to him why he shouldn’t be throwing things, things can break if he throws them, some things are really expensive and this kind of behaviour makes the other person sad. I gave him an example of how would he feel if his Captain America toy was thrown by Papa and it broke. It took me 15 mins to explain all this. And in the end, he held his ears and said “I’m sorry Papa, I will not do it again.” He went and hugged him. That was the best sorry I ever heard!!
When children are in an angry state of mind, they don’t respond to force and anger, calm them down and then provide an explanation of their behaviour. All you need to do is model the right behaviour, tell them about consequences and feelings, provide examples, and give them time to understand and respond.
Sorry is a good word!!
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