“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” our children often say when they regret what they have done or not done. “Say sorry at once, you naughty boy,” “Why don’t you just say SORRY?” “You say sorry a hundred times a day, but you still don’t learn.” Well, that’s a good package of armaments we carry and use many many times a day. We want our children to learn to use the great word “SORRY” whenever and wherever needed with the right feeling at the right volume. Yes, let’s accept a universal truth.
Child experts feel our kids shouldn't be forced to say "sorry" when they do something wrong. However, that doesn't mean they should be off the hook either. We should take the opportunity to teach our children about why the behavior was wrong and about good manners at the same time. Forcing our little ones to say sorry after they bite or hit another child, for example, simply forces a lame, insincere "sorry" statement without changing any behavior. So, what should we parents and do? Perhaps it will help if we remember that we should use opportunity to teach our children ‘Why’ we are asking for an apology.
Let us use the bad behavior as a teaching moment and help them learn from it. It is believed that getting children to think about what they have done wrong, why it was wrong, and the impact the behavior had on the other child is the best way to approach the situation. After giving them time to think about it, then we should ask what they can do about it to make the wrong right. And, if they simply suggest saying sorry or giving a hug, well, then it was their idea and it will certainly be more heartfelt!
We need to label the behavior as wrong when it is. We would perform an injustice if we don't simply and plainly spell out that the behavior was wrong. If not, we've reinforced to the little ones that bad behavior doesn't really matter and won't necessarily have any consequences. Just saying sorry will become their antodote to get out of things that shouldn’t be done, instead of understanding that the act was bad and should not be repeated.
We will have to talk about feelings ... a lot! At a preschool age, our kids are beginning to learn about empathy, and feelings often run strong. When they learn that their actions caused another child to feel sad or mad, for example, it can have a greater impact than just "getting in trouble." Our role should be to help a them to understand, first, that their actions caused another child to get hurt (either physically or emotionally), and then, begin the process of having a them accept responsibility and feel accountable for their own actions.
We should partner on teaching the reason behind "sorry." Good communication is a way to help our little ones on the path to understanding the reason behind feeling the way they do, and of being sorry. Consistency needs to be applied whether our children are at home with us or in the care of a provider. Consistent discipline and discussion lets them better understand that there are rules and when broken, there are consistent consequences.
We need to be sure to show love at the same time. Never let them feel unloved for doing something wrong. Remember the old adage of, "I love you; just not your behavior!"
Also Read: THE POWER OF THE “KNOWING” FEELING