Friday, 15 April 2011

Teaching Kids To Say Sorry

My son has recently gotten upset over the most unexpected things. This is the conversation we had last night when it was time for bed...
JJ: "Mommy, I don't like to sleep for a long time. When I'm tired, I just want to take a short rest."

I thought.....Okaaaayy, it's lecture time again...

Me: "You sleep for a longer time at night because your body needs to rest. You need to grow. After playing the whole day today, your body is tired already and if you don't get enough rest you won't have enough energy to play again tomorrow."

JJ: "Mommy, *sob sob*, you talked sooo long, I can't even talk anymore"

Me: ????!!!!

JJ: "I wanted to talk just now but you didn't let me"

Me: ????!!!!

Me: "Darling, I didn't know you wanted to say something. If I had known you wanted to say something I would have happily let you say it"

JJ: *Sob Sob* rolling on the bed, kicking his blanky.

JJ: "Mommy, I'm sad. If you say sorry I won't be sad anymore."

Me: ????!!!!

Okay, I really had to think through this. I wanted to teach him the principles behind saying 'sorry' but I also didn't want him to be sad,

Me: "Mommy's not going to say sorry. You know why? Because Mommy didn't do anything wrong. Do you like to say sorry for something you didn't do?

JJ: "No"

Me: "But, Mommy will promise you that next time when Mommy talks soooo long, Mommy will stop and ask you if you need to say something"

But he still wasn't happy. I didn't want him to go to bed sad, so....

Me: "Okay, Mommy's sorry for making you sad." Gave him a kiss and a hug.

JJ: "Mommy, I'm HAPPY now!"

Gosh, I went through an emotional and psychological roller coaster over that. I realise, since I had my kids, saying sorry comes easier to me. Kids learn best by example right? Here are some of the things I'm doing to teach my kids about saying sorry,

1. Lead by example.

2. I used to tell him immediately to say sorry when he does something wrong, but now, I try to ask him to think about what he did first and whether he feels he should say it. I feel that if I do it this way, it would encourage empathy on his part. Then, hopefully he'd say it and really mean it.

3. Encourage him to do something to right the wrong he did. Usually it's a hug and kiss with family members and friends.

It's a work in progress and I pray that ultimately they will learn the true meaning of saying sorry and have the humility to say it when they need to.
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