Communication and trust are the hallmarks of a strong relationship; and, with all due respect to Erich Segal, that means knowing when to say you’re sorry. Sometimes knowing how to say it is even more difficult, especially when it comes to our children. Let’s take a look at some alternatives for when you need to mend fences with your child. Here are ten ways to tell a child you are sorry:
1. Listen – We can’t really comprehend the extent to which we may have upset someone, unless we let them express that hurt. This is often the first step toward knowing how to apologize.
2. Don’t Mince Words – Admit fully what you are apologizing for, and skip the excuses. The bottom line is trust, and your child needs to know that you can be relied upon, even when it comes to admitting when you’re wrong.
3. Write a Letter – There are occasions when expressing your remorse in writing is the best approach. It allows you to fully verbalize your apology, while also giving your child time to reflect without the obligation to accept an apology, before they are emotionally prepared to do so.
4. Make Amends – It’s important that a child understands that the phrase “I’m sorry” is not an eraser that magically wipes out fault and accountability. So an apology should always include corrective action of some kind.