Many parents have heard or figured out that it can backfire when we make or ask a child to say they are sorry. When they refuse, we feel stuck and the hurt party feels worse. Or we get an angry, “Sorry!” hurled at the other child. However, we often don’t know what to do to help our child develop and express empathy or remorse. And, we find that when they don’t say it, well meaning adults see your child as uncaring. But, experience tells me this is quite the opposite.
To understand the child after an incident, let’s break it down. We have all been there: one child hit, or grabbed from, or said some hurtful words to another child. The hurt child may be crying or otherwise making clear how hurt they are. But the offender, for lack of a better term, is also struggling. To understand that child, we need to step into their shoes.