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Children are very caring and sensitive to others, and in most cases, they want to make things right when they have made a mistake, done something wrong, or hurt another person’s feelings.  When we mend hurt feelings and apologize sincerely, we help the offended party heal.  This is why it is important to teach children how to make up and how to apologize properly and sincerely. 

Obviously, a very small child is only going to be able to manage a brief apology, but saying sorry is still a good habit to teach your child.  

As your children get older, begin teaching them that saying a quick “sorry” is not enough.  It is important to state why he or she is apologizing and to take responsibility for his or her actions.  It is also not effective or appropriate to say things like, “I didn’t mean to make you sad.”  Whether your child intended to cause sadness or not, the other person doesn’t feel any better. 

It is important that children hold themselves accountable and apologize in a way that shows remorse and attempts to repair hurt feelings.  “I’m really sorry that I took your toy.  I don’t want you to feel sad.  I won’t do that any more.”  

Apologizing this way, shows that your child understands, and that he or she cares enough about the other person to want to make things right.  One of the best ways to teach children good apology skills is through practice, and of course, by setting a good example.