The 4-Step Method

Apologies are an almost daily, if not hourly, occurence for children. The methods of teaching them to apologize vary greatly. My own personal method has them take thought in the apology, owning the behavior and reflecting upon why it hurt the other person (or being). It also allows the recipient to tell them how their actions hurt them.

The process is simple:

  1. Apologize: "I am sorry for _________"

  2. Own the behavior: "It was wrong because __________" or "I should have ____________"

  3. Make amends: "I will try to _________ in the future."

  4. Ask for forgiveness: "Do you accept my apology?"

This is not a rushed or rote process. This is not something they MUST do, as a forced apology is not a genuine one. If they truly realized the error of their ways or it was accidental, then this is the method.

The recipient then decides what to do with the apology. In response they would reply something like "Thank you for apologizing." or even "You really hurt my feelings when you did that."

The one thing you do not want the recipient to say is "It's okay." The reason for this is simple: it makes it seem as though whatever infraction happened was fine to do and negates the apology - as in it was no big deal at all.