Saturday, September 30, 2006

Apology advice

If Agent 002 does anything to harm another human being, even accidentally, we require that he apologize. The apology must be given directly to the injured party, and the apology modeled for him is specific to the crime as well. For example, "Sorry for hitting you, Agent 004." Apologizing has become automatic for him -- when he bumped into another child at the playground, Agent 002 immediately stopped and apologized. It takes him longer to apologize for acts of anger, and this is probably a good thing. In a four-year old kind of way, he waits until he means it.

Now that Agent 004 is beginning to speak, we ask the same of her as well. In fact, her first two-word sentence was "Sorry, F," delivered spontaneously after bopping Cousin F on the head. She then promptly bopped F again. I fear that instead of teaching her to be penitent, we have taught Agent 004 how to be a hypocrite.

Rationally, I am convinced that my fear is unfounded. I know that the words sometimes come long before the feelings. I understand that she is only two. I KNOW that she is a very good girl (and a cute one too). But values like kindness and penitence are the most important things that we can teach our children.

I make no promise to follow your advice, but out of curiosity I'd like to know -- what do other parents of preschoolers do?

1 comment:

Sean the First said...

I can't see anything wrong with what you're doing. After all, and you hit this on the head, she 2.

Words do come before the meanings, hence why 2 year old sometime can sound like a sailor on leave. You have to be on top of these things, pointing out the correct way, and the proper time to appoligize. If you let sorry just become the word you say after the punch, the meaning is lost.

Of course, look at mine. Like I'm the Dr. Spock of the Internet.