Class Ideas ~ Apoligising


Just saying, “Sorry” every time you do wrong is not an appropriate apology.

The word all by itself means nothing without a genuineness that conveys you are truly remorseful over whatever unpleasant situation finds the need for forgiveness.

To teach a child about apologizing, you first have to teach them right and wrong. Teaching that covers the emotions that form inside the brain that lead the child to behave in a positive way or a negative way.

Speaking to the child in a firm but gentle manner each time they do something wrong and pointing it out as hurtful and how it is hurtful is, as well as in what way, helps the child understand the different ways their behavior can be negative. Negative behavior should come with consequences for the behavior. Sitting in a chair without speaking for 10 minutes, taking away a toy, no television, extra chores, these are but a few appropriate consequences.

Again, speaking to the child in a strong and reinforcing way with praise of various levels when they do something right will cement the difference between the good and the bad behaviors that need to be taught early on in their young lives.


My family member stayed with me for several weeks when she was a child. One of the worst she behaved in my care was when they took a permanent marker to my just finished, striped, sanded, stained and varnished woodwork in my home of the time while I was outside mowing the back yard. She even stood on a stool to get up high. The weeks of work were destroyed in the time she took to mark it all up. She was not just arting the whole hall, she had deliberately chosen to do so after being told be careful not to get her pens on the walls. I was furious but I also knew that spanking is a rare punishment that should only be applied if a child is putting themselves in danger and they need to know just how bad that behavior is. I had to consider a just punishment and it had to be an enormous lesson in no doing things deliberately. You may not agree with what I did but I planned it out making sure she was one percent safe with a 24-hour guard as well as myself. She had no idea was in place as well as my sitting up all night long, each night, on the other side of the door to make sure she was safe, but she did not know about these things until she was a young adult because I wanted to teach her to respect our home and myself.

I set up a bedroom on the enclosed front porch and told her she would not be allowed in the house until she understood that when she was told not to do something and she did it anyway. She was about seven years old. She and friends had slept out in tents in the backyard several times so I knew she would not be afraid to be on the porch, I was not trying to frighten her, I wanted her to understand that being inside a home no matter who it belonged to came with rules.

I had set up a bed, a side table, a rack for her cloths, a folding wall for her to dress behind with curtains all around it for privacy. I put out a porta potty such like you take camping and even put a refrigerator out there for her food.

I had called a babysitter for the day while I ran around setting things up who had instructions to keep her in the kitchen sitting at the kitchen table until I was finished. My family member was very curious about what I was doing because I would not speak to her. I was afraid I would say something very hurtful so I said nothing.

I lived on a street where all of the neighbors were friends. When I then went to every neighbor who she normally visited when she was over an asked them to join me in teaching her right and wrong, by walking by the house and asking her why she was not allowed in the house at least three times a day, they agreed. It took four days for her to understand she did something really bad, she knocked on the door and when I opened it she asked me what she was supposed to do to be allowed back in the house. I told her she had to figure that out on her own. She went and sat down on the bed. Of course, I already had forgiven her, I did so the same day she marked up the whole 15-foot-long hallway, and by then I was in terrible shape, very little sleep with the constant hovering over her to make sure she was safe out there on the porch. So, when she knocked on the door again and told me she was very sorry for marking up the hallway and she would follow my rules. I let her in, my neighbor came over and helped her dismantle her temporary room and bring it in the house so I could take a nap.

I knew for certain three weeks later that she had learned her lesson.

I was again out mowing the lawn when it came to me, I should go in and check on her. I walked into the house and could not find her. Checking in every room I came to the front room where I found my whole collection of bubblers, those little thin glass encased chemicals that will bubble up the wand when the warmth of your hand warms the glass and liquid inside, all broken and soaking into my white wool carpet. I had collected one from every state in America on travels. Displayed on a glass table, I had a light that would warm them and they would bubble away. I could not find my family member. I went from room to room when I came down the hallway and began to hear sniffling and a scratching sound in the bathroom. I peeked into the doorway and there she was self-inflicting her own punishment cleaning the bathroom with a toothbrush. I backed away grinning and went about finishing the mowing. Later she told me it really was an accident, she was dancing in the room and tripped, she explained that she ran into the kitchen and grabbed the baking soda and covered the stains with it because she was afraid the chemicals would start a fire so I knew she was learning lots of good lessons in my house. I was so delighted that she would punish herself in an appropriate manner that I hugged her and told her it was ok. She apologized and we moved on. Amazingly enough when the baking soda dried, I vacuumed it up and the carpet was still white.


The Act Itself

As to the actual act of apologizing. It is important to teach your child to think about their actions before they apologize, then have them go to the person or to yourself and get their attention. Teach them to explain why they are apologizing. Then have them use an appropriate standard apology. “I’m sorry, please forgive me”, is the best one. It encourages the other person to actually forgive them. This is a complete apology where both the offender and the offended address the behavior. Teach the child to complete the circle by teaching them that once the other person gives their forgiveness then the apology is complete. Also teach them that the other person my not have been taught that lesson and they may take some time to return their forgiveness. Also teach them that sometimes they will not get forgiven but that it is important that they follow through anyway because it shows they are willing to address their own misbehavior. Guilt on behavior can be a terrible strain on the body and mind, if a child deals with it immediately there is less chance, they will do it again.

Ok go have a thoughtful lesson.

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