When Kids Don’t Say Apologies


Learning to apologize is difficult but important. Many parents are realizing that their kids don’t want to say sorry when they’ve done something wrong. Parents are puzzled and frustrated when their kids don’t say apologies and even accept consequences instead. Breaking that simple apology down to understandable increments goes a long way in helping kids understand and apply this critical interpersonal skill.

First of all, explain to your kid what a negative impression people get of someone who don’t say sorry. Tell him it makes it seem like they don’t regret it and only care about themselves – not the kind of person most people want to be around, or have their children be with. Make sure he knows that people like others better if they apologize when they harm someone. Lots of children don’t know that.

Kids must know that saying the word “I’m sorry” is sometime not enough. It doesn’t help the kid understand clearly what he did. All kids have elements of selfishness and defensiveness to their personalities. Sorry words must be build with empathy.  Empathy is important and it must be learned thinking; consistent teaching of the words and actions of empathy and apology will help them take root. For example, if  your kid hurts a girl, tell him “Look at her! She is sad. She may cry. You have to do something.”

That’s right! An apology should be very specific: “I’m sorry, I broke your you pencil/ called you dirty/ ruined your room.” The apology can come in different ways, either face to face or over the phone. If your kids want to write a letter, it should be handwritten. Drawing is also be acceptable form of apology.

Explaining to your child what he did that requires an apology is more likely to be effective when conveyed in an informative, not punitive, tone of voice. Believe me, it’s better a lot when saying, “That is the problem. How do you think you can solve it?” —instead of having their child yell at them or slam a door in their face.

Teaching kids about apology is not easy task, but it will enhances your parenting skills. Remember, skills empower parents, and empowered parents can empower their children to meet life’s problems successfully.