Updated: Jul 24, 2021
We have all been in that situation - we see our child quarreling with another child about a toy, or any other issue, and suddenly our child pushes, or hits, the other child. The other child starts crying…
What did you do?!? Tell him you’re sorry!!! Immediately!
Why do we always run and force our children to apologize? Primary because that’s what’s expected from us. Besides, most parents wish to educate their children not to use “violence” to solve problems. Question - is that goal really attained when we FORCE them to apologize? When someone big and strong (a parent), imposes his will, on someone small and weaker (a child), usually something that he really doesn’t feel like doing (say sorry), we demonstrate exactly the opposite – That I can use violence (and force), to make you do something, just because I’m stronger and you are weaker….
So how can we raise our children not to become sociopaths?? Through teaching them about empathy, or the ability to truly see the other person, and understand how he is feeling.
So what could we do?
Talk about feelings at home, on a regular basis, and whenever there is an opportunity. We want our child to become familiar to all kind of different emotions.
Model saying sorry when you hurt someone (even our own child).
Inspire your child to think about the feelings of the person he hurt: How did he feel? How painful / upsetting was that for her?
Teach empathy and compassion by asking: How would you feel if someone would do that to you?
Encourage your child to think and resolve a situation, where he has hurt someone, BY HIM or HERSELF: What would make the other child feel better? What could you do?
So next time you see your child pushing or hitting another child, go over there, and tell him clearly she is not allowed to do that, but don’t rush and FORCE her to apologize!