Saying “Sorry” May Not Always Be Necessary8,630 views
Often as parents we want to make sure that our kids are properly disciplined. We always want our child to say his or her’s please and thank yous and ofcourse say sorry when they said something not nice or hit/hurt either another child or their sibling. What many parents aren’t always aware of is that sometimes its important to monitor your child’s response to a particular action and know whether or not saying sorry is necessary. I don’t want you to get the wrong message and think that I don’t consider it important for a child to say sorry. It just may not always be necessary. This doesn’t mean that they should never say sorry. And often saying sorry is important when another child has been hurt and that other child will need to hear ‘sorry’ in order to feel better (especially if the other child’s parent is standing right there).
I just remember when I was a kid I was often told to say ‘thank you’ or ‘sorry’ when I was just about to say it. I would then feel like I didn’t want to. I just hated it when my mother or even today my wife would look at me and lean over and say “Say thank you”. I would always respond the same. “I was going to say thank you but now that you told me too I feel like an idiot and now I don’t want to.”
This is not exactly how a child responds or feels when told to say “sorry” or “thank you” but it is a bit close.
When a four year old does something wrong they will often know it. Especially when they didn’t mean to do it. Even though a child wont say sorry it doesn’t mean that they don’t feel bad about what they’ve done. We, as parents, want to teach our children that saying sorry is important but more importantly we want our kids to know when they’ve done something wrong. Focusing on what they say instead of how they feel can cause us to miss the point on parenting. This is why a parent must be in tune with their child’s feelings. We should want our kids to have sincere gratitude, shame, or regret and sometimes this can be displayed without them having to verbalize their feelings.
To help understand what I’m trying to say let me tell you about one of my experiences with my daughter who was 4 years old at the time. She walked into the den and did something wrong to her younger brother. I have to say that I don’t remember exactly what it was that she did but it made him cry. He was two at the time. I walked in the room and demanded that she say sorry. She put her head down in a sort of guilty way and walked over to the corner of the room. As I was ready to make another demand, I noticed that she was very sad and looked as if she felt very sorry for what she did. So I decided to try another approach. I said to her “You know I think you feel sorry for what you did but its probably hard for you to say sorry. You could say sorry when you’re ready” and then I went back to the kitchen. Not more than ten seconds later, my daughter walks in the room and says “You’re right daddy it is hard for me to say sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I feel bad. I’m sorry I hurt him.” And then she went back into the den and apologized to her brother.
I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. I couldn’t wait to tell my wife about what just happened. I learned a lot from that experience. It really made me understand that sometimes its more important about sincere feelings and regret than about superficial words. Like I said before, I don’t think saying sorry isn’t important I think its very important but I think its more important for us as parents to recognize and acknowledge when our kids truly feel gratitude or regret. Being in tune with our child’s feelings is critical in the early stages of discipline and parenting.
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