You are too loud. Sorry. You spilled your grape juice on the carpet in the room you were not supposed to have drinks in. Sorry. You hurt your brother when you hit him. Sorry. You took that without permission. Sorry. You broke the window. Sorry. You lied to me. Sorry.
The list could go on and on. You probably have similar stories. Your child does something wrong, makes a mistake, either by accident or intention, and then simply says “sorry” to atone for the problem.
That’s the right thing to do, isn’t it? Yes; but, no.
Maybe they knew the rules; but, it just wasn’t at the top of their priorities to follow the rules. Or, maybe they just haven’t learned to think beyond their current desire. Often times, it is something that they were not trying to do; but, were not trying to avoid either.
And then you get the proverbial response, “sorry”. No emotion. No Pause. No conviction. Often times not even as much as an “I am sorry”. I wasn’t satisfied with the response.
So, I told my kids to stop saying “sorry”.
Yes, I want my kids to apologize. But, there has to be more to it. Spouting out the word “sorry” as fast as one can does not offer any real indication of an apology. It is really just used as an attempt to appease a parent with hopes of avoiding negative consequences.
When I gave the new rule, I did explain to my kids what an apology really should be and what I expect to hear:
- an acknowledgment of the mistake or wrong-doing
- an indication of remorse and plan for righting any wrongs
- a showing of a desire to make a change so that this issue will not happen again
I have now given my expectations to my kids (again), they know what to do. We will now watch to see what happens.
There is another side to this. In an upcoming post, I will explore how we, as parents and leaders, need to adopt this same rule.
Question: What do you do to help an apology be sincere and effective? You can share a comment below.
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