Saying "I'm Sorry" can be effective discipline

November 3, 2015

When disciplining your child, you might feel a bit of anger and frustration—but anger is never helpful to the situation at hand. When you lose your cool in front of your child in response to misbehaviour, saying the words "I'm sorry" can be an effective disciplinary tool.


Misplaced anger

While it's acceptable to be angry at your child's actions, the best course of action to take when disciplining your child is to come from a place of love, a place of teaching and—most of all—as the grown up. Recognize that you should not let your anger dictate your reactions, nor should it dictate your disciplinary choices. When it does, it's your job to model humility and show your child what it looks like to admit wrongdoing before asking another person for forgiveness.

Preparing your apology

  • Coming from a place of love and humility, apologizing to your children for misplaced anger or any other inappropriate behaviour you may have used in their presence involves a few steps.
  • The first is to get down to eye level with your child. Continue by speaking quietly and calmly, and make sure to use the words "I'm sorry" as you explain why your actions were wrong. Do not justify your anger; in doing so, your apology lessens in poignancy. Be sure that you recognize your sadness over their decision to disobey the rules, and don't confuse these emotions with your misplaced anger over being personally hurt.

Saying "I'm Sorry" is for strong people

Teach your child the important lesson that strong people say sorry first. To rid yourself of anger, harsh words, bitterness, rage or any other negative emotion and to focus on forgiveness, love and reconciliation takes a concentrated effort. To apologize to a child and put yourself in a vulnerable position in front of him takes strength and courage. The life lesson that your child will learn from hearing you say those words and apologize is priceless.

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