4. You GO Say You’re Sorry, Right Now!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have a favorite way to teach kids to apologize. Have you ever heard an insincere “sorrreee” from a child? After hearing a child say I’m sorry in such a disrespectful way the parent is usually quite appalled and says, “I don’t know how to get her to truly apologize, it always sounds so insincere.”

Here’s a great way to show a child that in this family we only deliver, and accept, genuine apologies. This method also teaches a child how to match the offense to the apology. In other words, first a child needs to be aware of how badly they’ve hurt someone or something. That informs them of how big a deed needs to be in order to truly apologize. It’s called a “Make-Up.”

You get a recipe box and put the names of each person in the family on a top tabs of all the dividers in the box. Then have a family meeting where each person writes or finds picture of 4-10 things that they decide would make them feel like they’d received a genuine apology. It has to be a physical action, not just say the words I’m sorry. Things like a hug, a drawing, pulling weeds, unloading the dishwasher, anything that makes the injured party’s life a bit easier. When some hurts someone’s feelings, body or property, the offender, the one who hurt someone, goes to the box and picks out what (s)he thinks will match the size of the offense. This teaches a child about the cost of hurting another. If we all did this, maybe bullying wouldn’t be such an epidemic.