Jump to content

Apologies
to force or not?


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 bakesferalgirls

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:57 AM

My random musing for the day has so far been about kids being forced to apologise for poor behaviour towards others or accidental mishaps.

I was discussing the same thing with my mum and one of her friends not that long ago. My daughter who was 3 at the time accidently stood on my mothers friends finger as she was picking something up from the floor. I told her to apologise, it was an accident,  no harm done, but my daughter refused to apologise and then refused to speak.

I repeatedly told her that she needed to apologise, that even though it was an accident and she was not in trouble, it was the right thing to do.

My mothers friend piped up and said that she shouldn't be made to say sorry if she wasn't sincere. A mild argument followed about societies expectations yada yada yada. My point was, that an apology is a nice thing, and the right thing to do. That it is part of following social norms and is part of learning to get along with people. I know that I have apologised for things in the past that I have not felt sorry for, because I genuinely did not think I had done wrong, but it made the person I was apologising to feel better and improved a situation that was going downhill.

My mothers friend thinks it is a pointless act if it is not with heart felt sincerity. She also thinks it shouldn't be done to make someone else feel better.

So, do you think saying sorry is part of living in 'polite' society? Or do you think it should never be said unless it is sincere?

Edited by bakesgirls, 25 January 2013 - 11:59 AM.


#2 kpingitquiet

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:05 PM

I think sometimes it needs to come from a sincere desire to make the injured party feel better, whether you're really sorry or not. Maybe you meant to do (whatever) at the time, maybe you don't feel particularly bad about the action but maybe you feel bad about the REaction. But apologies are, at the least, a recognition that you've hurt/offended/inconvenienced someone else. I think they're important.

#3 KnightsofNi

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:08 PM

I make my kids apologise. I also keep on making them apologise until there is some sincerity to it, rather than just saying it to appease me.

#4 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

I tend to apologise for all sorts of things that arent my "fault" and I don't actually care about - like paying with a $50, or taking a short taxi ride, or whatever.  Plus the things I actually do like bumping into people, or when my DS (15mo) does it (even when they bumped into us).

And I say sorry to DS when he can't have/do something he wants, because I am sorry he's upset.  

But I wouldn't push him to say sorry, if he refused.

I remember as a little kid being terribly afraid of talking on the phone.  The more people pushed me the worse it got.   Your daughter might have been genuinely sorry but found the whole apology thing (what to say, everyone looking at her) a bit intense.  



#5 cassoweary

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

I also always ask my DD to apologise in situations similar to what you have described, one of the reasons that i think it's important is to help raise her awareness of other people around her, as at her age, kids tend to be as my parents would say "like a bull in a china shop"!

When the wrong doing was an accident or i'm not entirely sure that it was my fault, i still apologise and its not just to keep the peace or to make them feel better, its more like  "even though it was an accident, i'm still sorry you got hurt" which i think is sincere, not just being polite.

#6 42n8

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

I think you are both right.

An apology should always be given sincerely but is also the polite thing to do.  Accident or not, when you hurt another, it's courtesy to apologise and that apology should be given sincerely.



#7 CallMeFeral

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:16 PM

I force. To me an apology where it's warranted is about manners - sincerity is a bonus!

I'm starting to feel conflicted though where DD does something wrong, I take something away as penalty, and then she apologises but really it's because she wants it back, not because she's actually sorry.
I've started telling her that I'm not angry with her anymore because she has said sorry, but she's still not getting the item back because that's the punishment for the act.

I don't know if it's quite the way to go about it, but I do want to avoid "sorry" becoming an expectation of "so now I get no punishment". Sorry does not void offences! I guess it's a little about sincerity but maybe more about just making sure sorry is not rewarded as a get out of jail free card.

#8 Cat People

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

I think it's completely pointless and counter-productive to force an apology.  What is it teaching kids?   To lie, be insincere?  Apologise to get out of being in trouble?  Whenever I see it being forced upon a child I'm reminded of the episode of The Simpson where Bart apologises to avoid getting into trouble, and then turns around and laughs "suckers" to himself.

You can teach your kids social 'niceties' without forcing an apology.  Model the behaviour you want, talk about Mrs X feeling hurt and tell her yourself how sorry you are her foot is sore.  Kids learn most by what they see, not being forced into something.

#9 Julie3Girls

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

I've always told my girls to apologise.

Doesn't matter if something was deliberate or not, you can still apologise.

However, I will not make a scene about trying to force a child to apologise. I think that tends to make a situation worse for everyone.

Eg, my girls have a fight, one gets hurt. I will usually push for an apology from the one at fault, but if it doesn't happen, then I prefer to give my attention to the hurt child, and then deal with the one at fault later.  
I've seen parents where two kids have had a problem, and the parent gets so worked up trying to force the apology, and the poor kid who has been hurt just wants the other to go away, and for everyone to stop yelling.  Not a good situation.

Once they are old enough to understand, I've also talked to them about the different reasons to apologise.

#10 wilding

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:28 PM

QUOTE (Madame Protart @ 25/01/2013, 12:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's completely pointless and counter-productive to force an apology.  What is it teaching kids?   To lie, be insincere?  Apologise to get out of being in trouble?  Whenever I see it being forced upon a child I'm reminded of the episode of The Simpson where Bart apologises to avoid getting into trouble, and then turns around and laughs "suckers" to himself.

You can teach your kids social 'niceties' without forcing an apology.  Model the behaviour you want, talk about Mrs X feeling hurt and tell her yourself how sorry you are her foot is sore.  Kids learn most by what they see, not being forced into something.



That's how I look at it aswell.

#11 WYSIWYG

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:28 PM

I think it shouldn't be forced. I HATE when people apologise just because, and you can tell when they don't mean it. I think it's polite to say sorry if you accidentally hurt someone, and generally when you realise it was an accident then you genuinely mean it when you say sorry.

I may suggest to my girls to apologise, like "How do you think you would feel if someone did xyz? Maybe you can go talk to x about what happened?", which I believe makes them think about if the roles were reversed, and also lets them talk to people and resolve issues.

#12 blackbird

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:29 PM

I did a parenting course last year, they don't us NOT to force children to say sorry as it teaches them to in effect lie if they don't feel justified in saying sorry. There has apparently been studies into it.

#13 unicorn

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:59 PM

I don't force, if an apology is not sincere what's the point of it. If my children, when younger did something that I felt warranted an apology, I would and still dowith DD, apologise on their behalf and once away from the situation will have a chat about what happened and how so&so was hurt and how that must have made her feel and why we should say sorry etc etc. If they wete rude or deliberately caused hurt I will deal with it accordingly.

#14 ellebelle

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

This is what I didn't get about the Lance Armstrong saga - everyone coming out and saying he didn't seem sincerely sorry. If he wasn't sorry that he did it, what's the point of pretending? We should be happy that he "fessed up".

But with kids, I don't think there's any point in forcing, but modelling the behaviour and asking them how they would feel in the same position is important to them gaining empathy.

#15 LovenFire

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:17 PM

My LO is 2.5, but when he does something where an apology is warranted (ignoring requests for him to do something, snatching from his brother, throwing a tanty, etc) I do ask him to apologise.  

BUT I also tell him, "It's not nice to snatch from your brother, I know you were just trying to stop him eating your car, but it isn't nice to snatch.  Please say, "Im sorry I snatched the car."

Now, I don't for a second think he has grasped the entirety of what was explained, but I feel that I'm *hopefully* laying the foundation for him to understand in time what is acceptable, what is not acceptable and more importantly, when apologising, why.  


#16 PurplePaperFrog

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

Apologising falls into the same category as saying 'please' and 'thank you'. It teaches good manners and I make my kids apologise when they need to.

Edited to fix weird typing.

Edited by PurplePaperFrog, 25 January 2013 - 01:19 PM.


#17 Jax12

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

QUOTE (CallMeProtart @ 25/01/2013, 10:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I force. To me an apology where it's warranted is about manners - sincerity is a bonus!

Same.

I understand what PPs are saying in regards to insincerity and lying but I think a lot of it comes down to manners.  When I am at the shops and someone smashes in to me I will automatically say sorry, even if it's not my fault, to acknowledge what happened and be polite.  Am I sorry?  Well, I'm sorry they smashed in to me...is saying sorry admitting that I am at fault?  No, I don't think so.  

For minor accidents and small issues I am absolutely teaching DS (2yrs) to say sorry when he is rude or hurts somebody.  As he gets bigger and has a more sophisticated understanding of social expectations and consequences then I probably wouldn't force an apology, but I don't think it's wrong to expect your child to say sorry to others.

#18 Ianthe

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:25 PM

QUOTE (Madame Protart @ 25/01/2013, 01:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's completely pointless and counter-productive to force an apology.  What is it teaching kids?   To lie, be insincere?  Apologise to get out of being in trouble?  Whenever I see it being forced upon a child I'm reminded of the episode of The Simpson where Bart apologises to avoid getting into trouble, and then turns around and laughs "suckers" to himself.

You can teach your kids social 'niceties' without forcing an apology.  Model the behaviour you want, talk about Mrs X feeling hurt and tell her yourself how sorry you are her foot is sore.  Kids learn most by what they see, not being forced into something.


Yep. I don't see the point of forcing a kid to apologise. It's just a battle of wills at that point.

#19 Mumma3

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:28 PM

While I agree that the apology would have been good manners and is appropriate even for an accident, I also think that in a situation like yours OP, your DD was probably embarrassed about the accident, and then you and your mother's friend going on about it probably just made her more embarrassed.

Perhaps you could have modelled an apology for her, apologised on her behalf and asked the friend if she was ok. I think the friend saying the apology wouldn't be sincere was out of line actually. Your DD is 3, and is still learning to social expectations of apologies for accidents. The friend (who I am assuming is much older) seems to have far too high an expectation of a 3 year olds social behaviour.

#20 Feral Borgia

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

I must say I force ...and if it doesn't come I punish....eg if he (accidentally or not) hurts another child in the park I will demand he apologises and if he doesn't I will say sorry on his behalf to the child and his/her parent and then we will leave. I think it teaches them manners and then....I hope...in time, real empathy will follow.....so he will come to eventually mean it when he says it.

#21 Tesseract

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:38 PM

I don't believe in punishment and I don't believe in forcing children to apologise.

I think that forcing an apology makes the child focus on the fact that they are being forced to apologise, not on what they have done. First acknowledge the reason behind the child's behaviour (ie you were excited and ran past and accidentally lost your footing, we understand). Then highlight the grievance to the child (perhaps gently remind her of what it felt like when she banged her fingers yesterday), let her know that if she feels bad about what she's done then an apology is the way to respond, and/or that an apology can help the other person feel better. Then leave it at that, no forcing, no punishment. The attention stays squarely on the injured party. The child is able to focus on their action and the impact it's had on the other person. This is what builds internally driven moral behaviour.

It doesn't guarantee the immediate apology in all situations, but it does foster an internal moral code rather than the Bart Simpson "suckers" apology. And to my mind that's the ultimate goal.

#22 CallMeFeral

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:41 PM

QUOTE (Madame Protart @ 25/01/2013, 01:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's completely pointless and counter-productive to force an apology.  What is it teaching kids?   To lie, be insincere?  Apologise to get out of being in trouble?


I think this depends on whether you see the 'sorry' as needing to be a heartfelt regret, or a gesture of politeness. I see it as one of politeness.
As per my post, I don't let it get DD out of trouble, that's a different issue.
Must say one of the primary pluses is the victim feeling like the issue has been addressed. Day after day one of my kids will do something that hurts the other, and long after the physical hurt is over, the sense of injustice stays, until the other sibling has been made to say sorry.

QUOTE (PurplePaperFrog @ 25/01/2013, 02:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Apologising falls into the same category as saying 'please' and 'thank you'.

This.
QUOTE (Jax12 @ 25/01/2013, 02:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I understand what PPs are saying in regards to insincerity and lying but I think a lot of it comes down to manners.  When I am at the shops and someone smashes in to me I will automatically say sorry, even if it's not my fault, to acknowledge what happened and be polite.  Am I sorry?  Well, I'm sorry they smashed in to me...is saying sorry admitting that I am at fault?  No, I don't think so.

This for me too. I frequently wave when I've cut in front of someone, even if I think they should have given way - it's just politer. Ditto bumping into people at the shops, etc, even phrases like "sorry, I didn't hear you could you repeat that?" are not suggesting fault, and don't require that I am genuinely remorseful about not hearing them, they are just politeness.

I think even a forced apology teaches a kid to at least stop, look the other person in the eye, and address them seriously (instead of clowning or pretending they didn't do anything).

#23 the.supers

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:46 PM

I insist on an apology but model it so that the child can save face.

In the OP's situation, I would have asked the child to say, 'Oh, sorry about that, I didn't mean to step on your hand, are you OK?'

It is common politeness and doesn't paint the child's actions as malicious.

#24 Sif

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

I think children refusing to apologise when told to do so is mis-interpreted as them not feeling empathy or having regret.

Especially when the child's eyes become downcast or they refuse to make eye-contact, this is no defiance so much as embarrassment. They understand they have upset someone and they are embarrassed or sometimes even afraid of reprimand.

When my children respond this way to a prompt to apologise, I try to reassure them that everyone knows it's an accidents and they can help to make the hurt person feel better by offering an apology. I tell them no one is angry but someone is feeling sad and they can help by showing they didn't mean to hurt the other person by saying sorry.

I also give them a little time to come with an apology of their own and in the mean time I model apologising by sympathising with the hurt person and saying that I am sorry they were hurt.

I am also conscious to celebrate an apology rather than follow it up with a reprimand, 'That's nice that you said you were sorry, that helps X feel a bit better!' rather than, 'Well, don't do it again, be more careful in future!'

#25 elizabethany

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

I believe in apologies if you are sorry for something.  That includes if you are sorry that their fingers hurt, even if you didn't mean to step on them.  I am sorry that native Australians have been treated very badly over a couple of centuries, but that didn't mean I caused it, it just means that I wish things had been different.

The only time I don't expect an apology is for an intentional act that you would do again in the same circumstances.  Which is why I don't go to confession.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Share the little things that make you smile

We're giving away a Mountain Buggy nano, the ultimate travel stroller - and here are some of the great entries so far.

Toddler pleads for return of "stolen" nose

A two-year-old's reaction to a game of "got your nose" shows it doesn't take much to make a toddler cry.

The 15 photos new parents share (and five they don't)

From the first scan photo to the baby covered in cake at their first birthday party, there are 15 photos most parents seem to share - and some they don't.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

Breastfeeding friendly café goes viral

A photo of a breastfeeding-friendly sign in a cafe has been posted to Facebook and shared by hundreds of mums around the world.

First look at the Bugaboo Bee3

The newest Bugaboo Bee ? the Bee3 ? offers a variety of improved features, including a much asked-for bassinet and a rainbow of colour combinations.

Childcare costs, not paid leave, the real issue for parents

Given the choice between maintaining their wage for six months to have a child, or having a reduced rate of pay for a time but a better deal on childcare when returning to work, there are no odds on what most working parents would choose.

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

We lost three babies in two years

Our first pregnancy ended the way we all expected it to - with a healthy, happy baby in our arms. What a true blessing he was, for we were not to know the heartache we were about endure.

Family turned back from doomed flight MH17

'There must have been someone watching over us and saying, 'You must not get on that flight,' says mother who narrowly avoided boarding the Malaysian Airlines flight which exploded in mid-air over the Ukraine last night.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Adorable Skeanie loafers for kids

Your little toddler or preschooler can now get their nautical on with a new range of classic loafers by Australian show brand Skeanie.

My baby is hypermobile

For months, I have been telling myself not to worry that Jasmin isn't crawling or walking. This week I heard the term hypermobile for the first time.

When you don?t bond with your baby

They say that there is no bond greater than the bond between a mother and her child. But for some women, the mother-baby bond takes more time and effort to develop.

Yumi Stynes: Having a baby after a 10-year break

After a long break, Yumi Stynes gets a reminder of the pain - and the pleasure - of giving birth.

Grieving father asks for help to Photoshop his daughter's image

When Nathan Steffel's daughter Sophia died from a liver condition at just 6 weeks old, he reached out for someone to create a beautiful image of his little girl.

Raising kids in a 'low media' home

Can you imagine a life without TV or computers? Some parents are opting for a low-tech, screen-free life for their kids.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

Be careful what you say, your baby is listening

The importance of speaking to your baby even if they are not old enough to answer back has been highlighted by new research.

The beautiful moment a baby was born at the side of a road

It's not where she expected to give birth, but mum Corrine Cinatl is delighted that her daughter's roadside arrival was captured in a series of beautiful photos.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

The Nappy Collective starts new drive

It's that time of year when the dedicated volunteers at The Nappy Collective do their bit to help out mums and children in need - and they need your help.

Baby shower cake wrecks

From misshapen cake babies to questionable text, from odd colour choices to internal organ recreation, these are the baby shower cakes that taste forgot.

Photographer captures the beauty of adoption

The love of a family is usually tough to capture on camera. This is an exception.

Pregnancy progression photo ideas

Want to record your pregnancy as your belly grows? Here are some creative, fun ideas for photo shoots along the way.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Tin can craft and DIY ideas

Got a few old formula, Milo or coffee cans around the house? Use these fantastic upcycling ideas to create items for around the house and yard.

Dads meet their newborn for the first time

Emotional photos of two fathers meeting their newborn son have resonated with viewers worldwide, attracting thousands of Facebook likes and shares.

Skin safety isn't just a summer worry

Lax about the slip slop slap with your kids as weather turns cooler? Here's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant for our children?s future health.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

Creative sleeping baby photoshoots

See how some parents and photographers have captured sleeping babies in unusual positions and using different props.

DIY kitchen and food hacks

DIY your way to a better kitchen and make cooking easier with our clever hacks. (Some content reproduced with permission from mashable.com.)

Winter warmers for babies and toddlers

Your baby or toddler will be nice and snug in these beautiful and fun winter pieces. Most are hand-made or knitted, and they're all designed to keep your little one toastie - and adorable!

 

Mind, body, beauty, life

Making time for me

We look at your wellbeing, covering health, relationships, beauty and fashion, mind and body.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.