Apologize + Amends = 2nd chance
Take the time to sincerely apologize when needed. This simple action can release the people on both sides of the apology, the giver and the receiver. Apology is more than a perfunctory “I’m sorry” and it is a lesson that will serve both adults and children well.
- Take Responsibility One of the most important elements of a sincere apology is to be clear about what you can authentically take responsibility for. Rather than putting the emphasis on the other, as in “I’m sorry YOUR feelings were hurt,” it is much more empowering for both parties to find what you can ‘own.’ “I’m sorry my words came across as hurtful to you. I was feeling defensive and I was trying to blame you,” is much more likely to mend a rift.
- Avoid ‘But’s’ Taking responsibility also helps one to steer clear of the old “BUT” pitfall. This might look like: “I’m sorry my words came across as hurtful to you, BUT, you made me so angry.” Our guess is that most people have been on the receiving end of an “I’m sorry, but…” and can attest to the fact that this form of apology feels less like apology than an attempt to justify the behavior that preceded it.
- Make Amends Making amends can mean explaining what you intend to do so that the incident doesn’t occur again in the future, or it can mean making restitution for the action that caused the incident to begin with. Making amends is the step that separates an obligatory “sorry” from a meaningful act to show appreciation and care for the relationship you have with each other and in the end rebuild trust.
By teaching a child the steps of apology and how to truly take responsibility in relationships, you can set them up for a living a life of empowerment over victimization, and true connection to others
A couple of well noted authors have taken on the topic of APOLOGY. Beverly Engel’s The Power of Apology and bestselling author Gary Chapman, partners with Jennifer Thomas in The Five Languages of Apology.