ADHD Strategies to Apologize: How to Teach Your Child to Apologize
ADHD Strategies to Apologize: How to Teach Your Child to Apologize


Kids don’t like saying they’re sorry
any more than adults do. But kids with learning and attention issues may end up
in more situations where an apology is needed, especially if they have trouble
with impulse control or social skills. A mumbled “I’m sorry” in those situations
can sound false or forced. You can teach your child to make a genuine apology by
using the word “sorry.” Here’s how. S is for “Stand up.” The foundation of a sincere
apology is acknowledging what happened from the other person’s perspective. It’s
easy to say a huffy “I’m sorry” when you upset somebody, but it’s not as easy to
identify what they’re upset about. A genuine apology requires your child to
stand up, do some reflecting, and acknowledge what she’s done. For example,
she could say, “I’m sorry I knocked your stuff off your desk when I got angry.” O
is for “Owning it.” Once your child has acknowledged the problem, it’s easy to
build from there. Your child might be tempted to put the responsibility back
on the other person by saying, “I’m sorry I knocked your stuff off your desk when I
got angry, but you made me mad.” Instead, she needs to own her part in what she
did. That sounds more like, “I overreacted.” R is for “Responding differently.” By now
your child is on her way to a full apology. The next step is to acknowledge
what might have happened if she had done something differently. She might build on
her response by saying, “I should have thought before I acted.” The next R,
“Repairing the damage,” is a harder block to add to the apology. Sometimes there’s
no way for your child to fix what she did or said. In concrete situations, it’s
easy to see how to fix things. But if there’s not an easy fix, your child may
just need to ask, “What can I do to make this better?” That sounds more like, “I’ll
help you pick it up.” The Y of “sorry” may be the toughest part: yielding to someone
else’s feelings. Whether there’s a fix or not, and as sorry as she may feel, she
needs to understand that sometimes other people aren’t ready to
stop being upset. She has to let them feel that way, even if it makes her
uncomfortable. If she argues, she might end up back where she started, needing to
apologize. “I know I can’t fix it and you might still be upset.” Here’s what a
genuine sorry sounds like when it’s all put together. “I’m sorry I knocked your
stuff off your desk when I got angry. I overreacted. I should have thought before
I acted. I know I can’t fix it, and you might still be upset. Let me know what I
can do to make it better.” You can help your child remember all the blocks that
go into a sincere apology, then she can review the steps whenever she wants or
needs to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *