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So many ways to say you’re sorry…


Even as adults it can be difficult to say those three little words… “I am sorry.”

When it comes to siblings who have a built in competitive nature it can be down right impossible to form those words on their lips.  Even when Mom and Dad , threaten to take dessert away for weeks,  the child in question can hold on without apology and overlook the promise of an ice cream sundae after dinner(in an effort to save face).  He knows what he did was wrong he just can’t give his sister the pleasure of knowing he made a bad choice.   It becomes a control situation, and no matter what, he will not budge.

When this happens parents can give their child a fresh perspective.  By making a list of the options they have in terms of apologizing, we can give them the control they desire and options that will make them feel safe as they step out on a limb and admit they made a mistake…

Together with your family take some time during the day (when everything is peaceful around your home), and make a list of all the different ways you can say your sorry.  Chime in with ways you have said you are sorry through actions or other words in your own life.  Let them know that it can be hard for adults to say sorry, too, but it is something that has to be done.  Let them come up with creative ways to say they are sorry to friends or siblings.  When the time comes (And we know that time could be anytime soon, especially during the summer months when siblings spend lots of time together) they can refer to the list and choose the way that makes them feel most comfortable.

Here are a few ideas to get your family’s list started…

1.  shake hands

2. smile and nod

3. write a note

4. give a gift

5. make up for what you did

6. pat the person on the back

7. help their sibling’s “boo boo” feel better

8. ask what you can do to help them feel better

9. tell a joke

10.  make a picture

11. Say it in a different way:   ” I shouldn’t have done that.”  “I wish I could take it back.”  “I feel bad about what I did.” “I did not want to hurt you.”  “I’m not going to do that again.”

The list can go on and on and can be determined based on what feels natural in your family.  When you use this list of options regularly it can allow the power struggle to go away and peace to re-enter the sibling relationship again.  In fact, the next time you or your husband have to say you’re sorry to someone, you might want to steal an idea from the list of options.

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