7 Simple Steps For Teaching Kids How to Apologize and Actually Mean It

If adults need to apologize (And who would argue that?), then the art of apology needs to be learned in childhood. Here are the steps we recommend for parents, grandparents, and teachers:

  1. Help kids to accept responsibility for their own behavior. Our adult patterns of sweeping issues under the rug and shifting blame can often be traced all the way back to childhood habits. My own two-year old son passed gas and then blamed it on his diaper, saying, “My diaper burped!”
  2. Teach toddlers that their actions affect others. When you pull our pet’s tail, you hurt him.  When you rub our cat’s whiskers, he purrs.
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What to Say When Sorry Isn’t Enough

My Advice: Here are a few phrases you could try to “pull for” more of what you’d like to hear in an apology (by category below).  You could say something like this:  “Thank you for what you’ve offered me by way of an apology.  It would help me even more if I could hear more about”: § Expressing Regret: “I am sorry” How my feelings were hurt, how much worry, trouble, inconvenience I experienced. How you would have felt if you were in my shoes. § Accepting Responsibility: “I was wrong”   Read More »

What to Say When… You Have an Overdue Apology

Is anyone waiting for an apology from you? Are you waiting to hear words of apology from someone else? In talking with people about apologies, I’ve found that more people than not would like to hear an apology today. Read More »

What to Say When… You Drop the Ball

Have you done this? I said “Yes” to someone who needed my help but I failed to follow through. I’m very forgetful so that is often the reason I drop the ball but it’s no excuse for my mistakes. I fail to set reminders for myself. I trust my memory but my memory fails me time and again.

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The One Person Most of Us Need to Forgive

While apologizing to others may bring healing to human relationships, self-apology and forgiveness restore your peace of mind. Apologizing to yourself and choosing to forgive yourself opens up the possibility of a future that is far brighter than you have ever dreamed.

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On Making Things Right With Those You Love

Has a friend sent you a critical message? I call those “email bombs” or “text bombs.” That’s not a fun way to start the day. Is your sweetheart giving you the cold shoulder? I can relate to it all.

Ten years ago, my husband and I had an argument. It was a run of the mill spat, but the timing of the argument was rather embarrassing. You see, we were going to lead a seminar for young couples the following day. What was our lecture topic? Conflict resolution. As they say, “timing is everything,” so we had some fresh material for our class. Read More »

What to Say When… Your Co-Worker Wants a Better Apology From You

Scenario:  Francis works in an office in Chicago where she gets along well with her coworkers. But one afternoon a coworker, Diane, told her she was bothered by the fact that Francis “never apologizes.” Francis was at a complete loss but then she remembered an incident in which she had made a mistake on a […]