CSP Spotlight: “I’m Sorry” - Apologizing to Your Child

07 May 2018

True apologies are important, even with babies and toddlers.  How do we know how to say we’re sorry?  How do we know how to forgive?  We learn by experiencing it. 

A true apology is one that clearly states what the adult did wrong in simple terms that a child can understand, like “I yelled at you and I shouldn’t; I’m sorry for that.” (And no excuses—for example, this is not a true apology: “I’m sorry for yelling, but your tantrum got me really upset.”)  True apologies between adults and children do three important things:

  1. They show children how to recognize the difference between right and wrong (this is called a conscience, and comes in handy.)
  2. True apologies help adults build an authentic relationship with their children—one in which both people will sometimes make mistakes. Repairing mistakes (apologizing) can and often does take a relationship to a new level.
  3. Offering a true apology teaches children—even toddlers—how to take responsibility for their actions and how to forgive. There is power, love, and generosity in forgiveness.  It is a big deal.

Every parent has a Backgammon Breaking Point—when you say something you don’t mean or aren’t proud of.  But here’s the secret: While these moments are important—and they are—the way you repair your misstep is even more important.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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