What Kids Need to Learn About Apologizing

One of the things that will make your child strong and resilient is knowing how to make a proper apology.

Savage Chicken's Failed forgiveness cartoon.

Sometimes, forgiveness is hard to come by; but knowing  how to make a proper apology helps. It is not always about flowers.


One thing I thought when I saw this cartoon was that sometimes no matter what  you do, the other person is incapable of forgiving. What matters is that your child learns to do the right thing. As with many things you teach your child, the saying and acting as if comes long before sincerity or understanding sets in.   Why, saying your sorry starts a good habit.

Super Nanny Jo Frost uses time outs to get you and your pre-school child on the learning  path to making proper apologies .  She says it better than I so, go here and read her prescription.

What if you haven’t taught your school aged, tween or teen to apologize properly?  No time like the present. Here are steps to you need to take. 

  1. When the child is behaving badly or has behaved badly and is not apologizing, say: “I am sorry I neglected to teach you to own your behavior and to make a proper apology.”
  2. Shut up and see how the child responds.
  3. A good response? Say “Thank you.”
  4. A bad response? Say “We need to talk about this, but later when we are both calmer.
  5. When the time seems right, talk about it.  
  6. If in a day or so, the time to talk has not happened, make a date with your child.  For children able to read and alternative is to write a letter.
  7. Again, apologize for not having done you job. Note, however, that all too soon your child will be moving out into the real world and one of the keys to success is owning your behavior and that means knowing when to make a proper apology.  Use EFTI’s Poster coach about apologizing as a guide.

How to apologize.

As always, you need patience.  You also need to model the behavior you want your child to copy.  Not easy, but who said being even a “good enough” parent was a breeze.  I know I did not.  So stay strong as I tell myself over and over again and keep at it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.