Thank You Vs Sorry

    Have you ever found your child constantly “sorry”, even for things that are out of your control?

    “Sorry, am I boring you?”
    “Sorry, I always have rubbish ideas!”

    The minute you see your child apologising either to 

    1. Avoid conflict
    2. Out of habit
    3. Lack of confidence


    If your child is apologising to avoid conflict, this could develop into insecurity and a lack of confidence, which over time can become a habit. If your child is apologising out habit, there may not be any emotional remorse behind it, which means that behaviour will continue (with them just saying sorry afterwards). However, apologising due to a lack of confidence is the one that is observed most often in children – this tends to be when a child is uncertain of their thoughts and ideas.

    What can I do about it?

    If your child is apologising due to uncertainty, we need to help them validate their thoughts and ideas – tell them that their opinions matter and that you want to hear them. Allow them space and time to feel the change between uncertainty and confidence. Once they begin to feel validated, they will say “sorry” only when needed. This is when you can teach them the alternative which is to say “thank you”. Teach them that they can say “thank you for being my friend” or “thank you for listening to me”.

    Feelings Factor

    What are you feeling when you apologise?
    Have you ever stopped to think about it?
    Do you feel:

    • content
    • embarrassed
    • empathetic
    • ashamed

    Was that the correct feeling? Is there a correct feeling?

    Some children hold onto feelings of guilt and shame when they’re told to say “sorry”, not knowing what they’ve done wrong. Others are quick and thoughtless to say “sorry”, where they’re ready for the new, naughty activity as soon as they’ve said sorry to the first one. 

    Helping and guiding children to understand empathy and compassion will promote purposeful apologies, where self confidence is not tainted and mistakes are not taken personally.

    How does this help my child's future?

    How often have you meaninglessly said “sorry”? Most people do this to avoid conflict, however when you have genuinely done something wrong, it is important to feel remorse, and compassion for the person that may have been hurt by your actions. This means no excuses, justifications or blame shifting, etc.. Bringing about a change in apologising behaviour now (while they’re children), will enable your child to feel secure, as an adult, in accepting responsibilities, challenges and even mistakes. They will have high self-esteem as they will accept mistakes as just mistakes, not taking them personally. Instead looking to see how their mistake can bring growth. This will, in turn, impact several aspects of their lives – relationships, work responsibilities, home responsibilities, etc.

    Thank You vs. Sorry Cards

    This is why we’ve included Thank You vs. Sorry cards in this month’s Wonder Box – as a tool to help your child build their confidence. Get hold of your first box, with this and 7 other activities for just £10.50.

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