How to Get Your Kid to Apologize (and Mean It!)

“Apologize to me for talking that way!” The words flew out of my mouth, setting me up for an epic battle of wills. When my 6-year-old daughter finally mumbled an apology through her tears, I wondered if all the drama had been worth it. Had she learned anything by being pushed to say “I’m sorry”? Experts explain what’s important is not simply saying the words but learning to take responsibility for a mistake. “Children this age may resist apologizing because they believe the mistake wasn’t their fault,” says Ericka Anderson, a licensed professional counselor at The Healing Grove, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. “They need reassurance that even though they misbehaved, they are not ‘bad’ and are still loved.” By breaking the apology process into a few steps you can help your child understand how her actions affect others and learn when to make amends.

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