In life situations arise in which we are wrong and it is important to apologize for what we have done incorrectly. These experiences are not usually easy or pleasant but they are necessary for our growth and learning.
In the case of children, learning to apologize does not depend only on a social skill that they must develop. Keep in mind that your child learns more from what he sees than what you can tell him. The lack of physical activity and the abusive use of social networks triples the cases of eating disorders in children and adolescents.
The example is essential for our children to learn and grow as people formed in values, who respect others. But how do we teach our children to ask for forgiveness? What benefits does it have?
“When you say the word ‘sorry,’ make sure you understand that an apology has 3 parts. “I’m sorry”, “It’s my fault and I won’t do it again” and “How can I make things better?”. The last part is the most important.
-Manasa Rao Saarloos-
What does a child learn by asking for forgiveness?
Apologizing not only helps mend relationships with other people, but it’s also a valuable opportunity for your child to learn to recognize when they’ve been wrong, and that they won’t always be right or right. Games and activities to stimulate the development of kid from 2 to 3.
In addition, he can understand that making mistakes is okay, that it is part of growing in life and that there is nothing wrong with it, while at the same time learning to take responsibility for what he says and does.
Be aware of the consequences of actions
Another crucial point in learning to apologize is that the child becomes aware that their actions have consequences (positive or negative), and in turn, this allows them to be more empathic and respectful of others by recognizing that they have hurt in some way. to another person. The good thing is that he can try to fix it.
Change some behaviors
Learning to apologize will also help your child recognize when harmful behaviors exist, and this awareness will allow them to change so they don’t happen again.
Additionally, you will be able to develop cognitive skills by learning to resolve conflict situations.
develop certain skills
In addition, we know that the development of the process of learning to apologize is closely related to the development of many skills, not only cognitive , but also social, as indicated by the authors Díaz and Prieto in an article (2020).
As you can see, there are many advantages to teaching a child to apologize. Now, how do we accompany you in this process?
Teach to apologize without forcing
It is important that forgiveness be sincere, and for this it is essential that it not be something forced. It can be frustrating for adults to want a child to apologize and not to, but remember that this should not be forced .
The best thing you can do in these cases is to offer the child information about what is happening.
Sometimes they are not aware that they have been rude, for example, or that they have hurt other people’s feelings, and it is precisely there that our job as adults will be to help them understand.
use simple words
Explain to him in simple words what happened and the consequences of his actions, but don’t force him to apologize without really wanting to or understanding the whole situation.
In these cases, he would only be obeying without thinking about what he did and, therefore, there would be no changes in the future regarding the behavior that warranted asking for forgiveness.
encourage their learning
Remember that the purpose of asking for forgiveness is not to generate empty phrases that lack total meaning for the child. On the contrary, what is sought is their learning and the change of inappropriate or harmful behaviors so that this does not happen again.
Through truly felt forgiveness, cognitive changes occur that will allow you to have more and better social strategies .
Remember: you are their example
Finally, keep in mind that your example will be their main guide to know how to behave in cases where it is necessary to ask for forgiveness.
The importance of encouraging positive behaviors
Just as you should force a child to apologize, it’s also important to acknowledge when they’ve done it honestly .
Show him how proud you are of him or her for doing the right thing in that situation, and for having the courage to apologize.
Relativize the mistakes
Also remind him that nothing happens for being wrong and that he has acted very well in realizing it and asking for forgiveness.
Explain that it’s normal to feel a little bad about making mistakes, but that the most important thing is to realize what we’ve done and change so it doesn’t happen again.
The other person feels taken into account
Remind him that when we ask for forgiveness, the other person feels good to feel taken into account and that although he may be a little upset for a while, asking for forgiveness was the right thing to do and everything will get better.
What do I do if my child is having a hard time apologizing?
Even for adults, realizing our mistakes and the impact of our actions can be a bit difficult, and even more so when it comes to asking for forgiveness.
So it is easy to understand that for children this situation can be somewhat complex.
Let’s do it together
When the child finds it very difficult to ask for forgiveness, what we can do is accompany him and ask for forgiveness together; This way he won’t feel alone and exposed and it will give him a little more confidence to speak and apologize honestly.
teach by example
In this way, we also help them learn by our example, by seeing how close adults manage situations in which it is necessary to ask for forgiveness for something that has been done or said.
Expressing it in different ways
Another way you can help your child apologize is by expressing it in different ways.
Especially with the little ones, it happens that it is difficult for them to say what they feel with words . Then we can teach them other strategies, like giving special hugs to show that they feel bad.
Cards with phrases and drawings
You can also create a series of cards or pages with phrases and drawings of forgiveness so that the child can use and give them to people when they feel that they should ask for forgiveness but do not know how to do it.
support and understand
And it is that the key to teaching children to apologize is to encourage them to do so , help them understand the impact of their actions and, more importantly, the example that we show them every day.
“Let us teach to forgive; but let us also teach not to offend. It would be more efficient.”