Australian parenting expert Dr Karen Phillips explains why it’s important for parents to say ‘sorry’.
‘There’s a difference between saying “I’m sorry” and apologising. When we apologise to our child, it’s because we’ve done something that is directly affecting them or hurting them,’ she told the Today show.
‘When you say “I’m sorry” it shows empathy in that their feelings are hurt or they’ve been hurt by someone else.’
Dr Phillips added that parents should also avoid using the word ‘but’ in their apology.
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‘The word “but” deletes everything that you said prior, so it absolutely annihilates the apology,’ she said.
Although children may not be consciously aware that this is the case, subconsciously they will take it on that the apology isn’t genuine.
‘When it does occur we need to go: “you know what sweetheart? I apologise that I raised my voice, it is inappropriate to ever raise your voice and hurt somebody that you love and care for. Next time I’ll go outside and take a few breaths, are you okay?” she said.
This should then be followed by asking them if they forgive you.
The child doesn’t always have to accept your apology and if they don’t, Dr Phillip said you should let them know that’s okay.
‘Say something like “you don’t need to forgive me straight away, what can I do to have you forgive me and feel better?” and they will tell you,’ she said.
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