By: Arianne Brown, KSL
We've all been there. Child one takes child two's toy away. As a result, child two cries, hits child one, and pretty soon everyone is crying.
As the parent in this situation, we of course, gather the two children, wipe their tears and tell them to say those two magic words: “I'm sorry.” After all is said and done, everyone goes on their merry way, holding hands as if it never happened, never to fight again.
The words, “I'm sorry” are well-intended, but we all know that most of the time - if not all of the time - when a child is told to say these words, he or she will do one of three things: begrudgingly yell it out, mumble the words under his breath - or better yet, say it with his voice going up in the middle, turning the word into, the pronunciation, s-AU-ry.
Even though the words were uttered, we all know they weren't said sincerely, and that it is only a matter of minutes - perhaps even seconds before the two kids are at it again.
Nothing was solved.
We parents are then left with our hands in the air, wondering what it was we did wrong. After all, we did what we should have; we made them apologize. Or did we?
The answer to that question is, no. An apology is so much more than just words. A series of steps are required to complete a full apology, and it is not nearly as difficult as it may seem.
Now, before I divulge my secrets, I must give credit where credit is due: My mom. As a mother of ten kids, she had her share of tiffs between us all, and just saying “I'm sorry” was never an option.
We were required to say the following (names and instances may or may not be accurate):
“I'm sorry, Blair, for knocking down your Skeletor castle. Will you forgive me? I won't do it again.” Hugs would then ensue.
This apology may have taken a full 15 second longer than the previous version, but it accomplished so much more.
Let me break it down for you:
Step one: State whom you are sorry to. The simple insertion of the apology recipient's name, requires recognizing whom the words are directed to, and requires eye contact.
Step two: Say what
you are sorry for. This forces the guilty child to recognize what it was that he or she did. When the child speaks the words of what was done, she is more aware of the wrong-doing, and then begins to feel bad for her actions.
Step three: Ask for forgiveness. Having your child ask for forgiveness not only requires humility on his part, but is an important part in mending the relationship. Doing this requires action on the part of the one who was hurt, consequently making the two children work together to fix it.
Step four: Resolve not to do it again. Although there is a (rather large) chance that a conflict will arise again, by having your child state that he will not do it again, he will be more aware of his actions. And, if nothing else, if the offense is committed again, you can always let him know that he said he would not do it again. Over time, he will do it less and less.
The fifth and final step: Hug. We all know that the last thing we want to do after someone has hurt us, is to hug or even touch that person. However, there is something about human touch that makes everything all better. And even done reluctantly, mom or dad can always join in for a group hug (and tickle) with laughter once again proving to be the best medicine.
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