When Your Child... Apologizes Too Much
2-min. video | Open Door for Parents with Dr. Eileen
Apologizing can help kids move past conflicts, but too much of a good thing can hurt friendships.
(113 seconds) Video transcript at bottom of this email.
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Hi! Welcome to Open Door for Parents where I share ways to support your child's feelings, friendships and mental health. I'm Dr. Eileen.
Apologizing when we’ve done something wrong is a great strategy for making up with a friend. A good apology uses the words “I’m sorry for…” to specifically say what we regret doing. Often, a good apology also includes a statement about what we’re going to do differently from now on or to make up for our mistake.
But some kids have a habit of apologizing even when they didn’t do anything wrong. Or, they apologize again and again and again, which can be annoying.
What I tell my clients is: Apologizing more than twice erases the apology. Think about it: The first apology shows remorse. The second apology is for emphasis. But any apologizing after that takes the attention off the injured party and pulls it onto the apologizer. It flips things around so instead of offering comfort to the kid who was hurt, the injured kid has to comfort the apologizer who keeps going on and on about feeling sorry. That’s backwards!
Apologizing for no reason can also pull the attention off the injured kid. If your child tends to do that, suggest expressing concern instead, maybe by saying, “That sounds hard!” or “How frustrating!”
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