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Why we should not force children to make amends or apologize

Why we should not force children to make amends or apologize


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Children are often in constant conflict with each other. When they are young they have not yet developed empathy with others and the "I" prevails in any situation. The truth is that it is not about conventional selfishness, but rather it is a stage that the child must go through between 2 and 3 years, at which time he becomes aware of himself.

However, when a conflict arises with another child, we insist that they ask for forgiveness, hugs and kisses, even if the child does not feel any remorse.

Are we doing the right thing? Does the child really learn anything when ask for forgiveness without feeling it?

I explain why we should not force children to make amends or ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a nice thing for adults. Means want reconcile and recognize our guilt, but what for adults has a very concrete meaning, for children is nothing more than a empty word.

Good manners are fine as long as they are accompanied by actions and a real feeling, something that usually does not happen in children.

When we force a child to make amends with another but do not really feel that he has done anything wrong, we are teaching him to show a diplomatic and nonsensical response in a conflict situation.

The child will respond to what we ask without really understanding, feeling, or empathizing with the injured child. What's more, it can backfire as it gives you the freedom to act however you want and then ask for forgiveness, or "interpret" make peace with partner, and again.

In the event that a child argues or hurts another child in any way, we must not miss the opportunity to make him empathize with the victim instead of repeating an empty word or action, how can we do it?

In the case of children up to 5 years, who still do not have enough empathy, it is better to make him see that he has caused damage bringing the two children closer and asking the injured child: are you okay? How can we heal you? ... If it's a physical injuryLike a scratch or a bite, we can ask the child who caused the damage to put a band-aid or apply ice to the area to reduce the pain; If it is something emotional, we can ask the child who inflicted the damage what do you think we can do to heal him? and let him decide if he wants to give you a hug or ask for forgiveness. If you don't know what to do we can propose our alternatives Do you think that if we ask for forgiveness or hug him, he will get better?

In older children, conflicts must be resolved through dialogue and with the least possible intervention on our part, unless they come to blows. In cases where we must to intervene, what we must teach is the same: to empathize.

You have to try that each part make your case, and if they do not reach an agreement we can ask questions such as: How do you think we can solve it? Would there be any way to reach an agreement? Do you think he has reason to be angry? ...

The important thing is that the child understands what he has done and that he really wants to amend their actions, not that of kisses or ask for forgiveness.

And remember, as surprising as it may seem to adults, children they value happiness more than pride, so in a few minutes they will have become friends again without having to ask for forgiveness.

You can read more articles similar to Why we should not force children to make amends or apologize, in the category of Conduct on site.


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