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Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

  • 1.  Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 30 days ago
    Needing so easy to read/understand discussion or training's on why we don;t force children to say "I am sorry"...and GO! Thanks in advance!

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    Ranae Liles
    Director
    Humboldt Educare
    Eureka CA
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  • 2.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 30 days ago
    I am not a big believer in having a child randomly say "I'm sorry". They may not be "sorry" for what they did LOL...Also as a parent and long time teacher I am aware that I may not have seen what happened "before" the incident.
    I always crouched down (I also have an issue with adults standing over children when an important point needs to be made) make eye-contact (at their level) with the children involved. Ask each child to relay what just occurred (if they can -and if any crying has stopped) do not "take sides" repeat what each child has said/their version. Then ask a simple question "Suzy - is there something you would like to say to Bobby?" 9 out of 10 times the child will say "I'm sorry" on their own. Offer a simple solution as to how the problem can be solved. This way you aren't "taking sides" and the children have worked it out themselves. At the end you can remind both parties (Hitting being my example only) "Remember to Use Your Words" "Hands to Yourself"...
    If the child does not say "I'm sorry", just move on with the "solution phase".
    In my opinion this is more respectful to all parties involved. Does this technique work 100% of the time? No, but it is a good start.

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    Karin King
    Education Consultant
    Trumbull CT
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  • 3.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 28 days ago
    I remember (from my childhood) being forced to say i was sorry when I was not sorry in the least for my actions.  Because of that, for years I felt that forced, empty apologies were not appropriate.

    However, manners are an important skill.  Children/adults are more socially successful when they demonstrate good manners: in school, the workplace, in their communities, and their relationships.  An apology communicates that one is taking responsibility for their actions and words that hurt another.  It is difficult, and it takes practice.  Therefore, I now teach this skill and encourage my children to practice using it.  But not forced.

    This also leads to the next step, which is even more important, and typically overlooked:  Forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the act of releasing the  perpetrator from any grudge, resentment, anger, bitterness or retaliation on the part of the victim.  It is the most important step in repairing a broken relationship.  Counselors and psychologists will confirm that it is vitally important for the mental health of the victim to forgive.  We often hear the phrase "That's okay" used in replace of "I forgive you."  Unfortunately, "That's okay" is not the same. Usually, the act is hurtful and NOT OKAY.  "I forgive you"  says that what was done is NOT OKAY, but I release you from my anger or retaliation.   How many relationships would be saved if this simple tool were used more regularly?

    Therefore, now when I am encouraging a child to say "I'm sorry", I also encourage the victim to say "I forgive you."

    Practice makes perfect!

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    Elizabeth Werner
    Blessed Beginnings
    Cody WY
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  • 4.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 28 days ago
    Regardless of the practice... the most important thing is to make sure it is age-appropriate! Keep that in mind.

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    Ara Zeliz Reyes, MEd.
    University of Massachusetts Boston Early Learning Center
    Roslindale MA
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  • 5.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 28 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on forgiveness and saying sorry in a way that is not forced out of one's mouth.  I like your explanation of how forgiving someone is a way of releasing one's self from pain and in turn erases the feeling of victimization. It is important that we teach our children to when they express feelings of sorry for something they did to hurt someone,  that they truly understand what it means and why they have to say sorry.

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    Millie Tinkorang
    Instructional Assistant
    ECSD
    Elko NV
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  • 6.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 28 days ago
    I agree with Elizabeth. Apologies are a part of good manners. In my classroom I sit down with both children involved in a conflict. Each child gets a chance to tell their version of the story. I give each child prompts such as, I don't like it when you _____. It makes me feel _____. For an apology I lead the children through saying, I'm sorry that I _____. Next time I will _____.
    I also have the students use the words, I forgive you. I agree that often, the offense is not "okay".
    This eliminates the children just saying "I'm sorry" to be able to get out of being in trouble. It helps the students, some as young as 3, take responsibility for their actions. We also talk about ways the children can "fix" the problem they created, maybe get an ice pack for an injured friend, or help rebuild a block tower that was knocked down. My four year olds are beginning to do the process without my help. I stay within ear-shot, but don't intervene unless needed.

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    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI
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  • 7.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 26 days ago

    I work with infants and toddlers. I encourage them to look at the other child's face to see how they are feeling. We help the infants give the friend they hurt a nice touch. When they start to have words we encourage them to ask, "Are you OK?" In our preschool program if the hurt child says they are not ok the other child is encouraged to ask if there's something they can do to help them feel better and then follow through with the hurt child's request if possible until the hurt child feels like they are ok.


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  • 8.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 30 days ago
    Hello there,

    I remember seeing some practitioners articles on this. I will try to dig them up and post them here. Typically as a teacher, consultant, and a parent, I don't even bother with the I'm sorry part. There are many other ways to help them develop empathy. Per the article I think you just allow each party to describe how each other feels/see their side of the incident. This way they learn perspective taking rather than empathy. Per the article. Is more productive to tech them how to see others perspectives than to be sorry feel fake empathy (which a lot of times comes from feeing guilty or wanting to please others). If I cannot find the article in time. I'm very busy these days reach out directly. Twitter me at Choice4Parents. Good luck!

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    Ara Zeliz Reyes, MEd.
    University of Massachusetts Boston Early Learning Center
    Roslindale MA
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  • 9.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 29 days ago
    When my children were in a cooperative preschool and when I was the Director some years later, we did not require children to say that they were sorry. I had read some literature indicating that most children were not sorry about what they did and forcing them to say, " I am sorry" did not really get to where you wanted them to be.  Instead, we began using restitution. Children who hurt someone else had to help the child they hurt feel better. This might happen in many ways depending on what the problem was.

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    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
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  • 10.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 28 days ago
    I agree with the "don't make children say I'm sorry" folks.  Another aspect that I think is important has to do with consent.  Forcing a child to say something goes against the foundations of consent and choice that are very important to foster in children at a young age, as has been discussed in other threads.  Apologies if someone wrote about this already and I missed it.

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    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
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  • 11.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 28 days ago
    In my classroom, we had what I called a Peace Wall. On it, we had what basically amounted to a script for communicating during conflict: "When you ______, I feel ________.  I want you to ___________." It included a feelings wheel and a variety of illustrated options to choose from when telling the other person what they wanted (e.g. give me space, help me fix it, etc.)--though they weren't limited to those options, it gave a good jumping off point. The Peace Wall provided them with language to problem solve, and students were able to utilize the wall with or without grown up help, so it both empowered them and helped free up time for me.

    Only rarely would children say that they wanted the other child to apologize because they recognize that it didn't actually make them feel better. We emphasized restoring relationships and building up the classroom community.

    There are a bunch of articles on forced apologies, empathy, and psychology, but because I primarily taught in schools which focused on Restorative Justice practice, most of my resources would come from there.

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    Vanessa King
    Director of Education
    Children's Museum Tucson
    Tucson AZ
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  • 12.  RE: Looking for DAP alternatives to forced apologies

    Posted 24 days ago
    I was taught not to force children to say sorry, because it doesn't really mean anything to them and allows them an easy way to get out of dealing with caring for someone they have hurt or upset. Instead I have the child ask, "How can I help you feel better?" And start a conversation that gets both children to work together to solve the problem. It also gives some power to the child who was hurt.

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    Shannon Ball
    Teacher
    Austin ISD
    Austin TX
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