We might well ask ourselves how our approach to teaching children to apologize makes them feel. How scary are we when we’re demanding they realize their mistakes and then apologize? How much of our delivery makes them really understand, versus training them to apologize by rote?
Also, do we remember to teach our kids not to apologize for the wrong things like their race, religion, and body type? Do we teach them not to apologize to placate people who are angry with them for things they didn’t do wrong?
Some kids blurt the word ‘sorry’ over and over again in the course of a day to the point where the word is more like a sentence punctuation than an event.
I realized last night while shopping that my kids get their apologist natures from me. A woman bumped into me from behind with her cart as she concentrated on the shelf and not the way ahead. I turned around and blurted, “Oh, sorry!” She said, “No problem.”
Something is definitely not adding up here, I thought. Why did I apologize for getting bumped into? If I do that around my child what’s the message or lesson I’m passing on?
My 9-year-old son cried when a kid was mean to him. He recounted the incident and said, “Sorry. Sorry. Sorry,” while wiping away tears. He was apologizing for crying because someone at school told him big boys don’t cry. That’s not something he should be apologizing for. I have friends who say "sorry" to me about everything and anything to the point where the word has little meaning.
Yahoo’s Oscars blog has a link on it that reads “Anne Hathaway Dress Crisis,” leading to a featured article with the actress pleading forgiveness for wearing a pink Prada gown the critics had picked on in place of the Valentino she’d planned. That’s a good example of a case where apology is made as a shield against our critics rather than something we should actually be sorry for.