Let's be honest...saying sorry when forced doesn't actually do anything. When your spouse gives you that look 😠 and you know they're just waiting for you to say sorry- does that actually make you think about your actions and feel repentful? Likley not.
👧🏼 🧒🏻 👦🏾 Well, it's the same with children. By forcing our children to say sorry we are making them go through the motions of being polite instead of building up true skills of empathy and regret. Making a child say sorry doesn't actually make them feel sorry. It's not about the words- it's about the actions.
So next time you see an opportunity to help your child learn this skill, instead of forcing your child to say sorry, try having your child check-in with whomever they may have verbally or physically hurt (either intentionally or accidentally). By checking-in with the other person your child is learning how to read facial cues, modulate behavior based on another's feelings and respond in a more valuable and realistic way.
Here's how checking-in works:
1) 👌🏻 After the incident, have your child ask the other person if they are ok?
2) 🎁 Regardless of answer then have your child ask if there is anything they can do for the other person?
3) If the answer is yes, then have your child ask what they need? The answer is usually a 🤗 hug, 😘. kiss, 🩹 band-aid, 🧊 ice pack, etc.; and have your child fetch that for them (with help from adult if needed).
4) If the answer is no, then let it go and it's all done.
⛔️ There is no need to use shame or guilt- just practice this interaction with your child. Be consistent and patient, this may be something new for you and your child to learn. At first you will need to model this for your child but as your child gets older you may only have to prompt them to check-in. ✔️
*this is a picture of my older boys wrestling. My older son was not really being choked- there's a lot of drama involved in wrestling, which affords a lot of opportunities for checking-in!*