Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

should u force your child to say sorry?

when my daughter was 3 years old she hit her cousin pretty good. she got a time out and i told her to say sorry. she refused i told her she wasn't allowed to play until she said sorry so she didn't play for 3 hours, all just because she wouldn't apologize. i know its good for them to have to apologize but should you make them say it if they don't mean it? whats that teaching them?


Asked by momandytai at 7:56 PM on Oct. 12, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 8 (263 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • That's STAMINA......Good job!

    Answer by NOV1999 at 7:58 PM on Oct. 12, 2009

  • I am mixed on this one! I think they need to learn to say they are sorry, but on the other hand I want them to learn to say it because they believe it, not because it is "the nice thing to say." At this point my kids aren't really that verbal, so I just ask them to give the person a hug and tell them they should say "I'm sorry." I don't tell them they must say it. But, I will probably go back and forth on this one! Lol!

    Answer by micheledo at 8:04 PM on Oct. 12, 2009

  • I don't think so. If you force a child to say sorry when they don't mean it it could cause resentment. And then there's always the "I'm Sorry!" snotty apology. ...I think it's better to model the apology. I've NEVER made my boys say they are sorry. They are almost 4 and almost 5 and they say they are sorry, when they really mean it.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 8:13 PM on Oct. 12, 2009

  • When my child hurts another child I take her aside and point out to her how hurt her friend is and how sad she is. We talk about how her actions caused harm, not just we don't do that. Once she realizes WHY it was wrong I then encourage her to apologise and teach her that Sorry is not just something we say to get out of something but something we say because we mean it.

    Answer by Steff107 at 8:21 PM on Oct. 12, 2009

  • I agree w/ Steff107. I have my DD say sorry after I process with her what she did and explain why what she did was hurtful. Apologies are humbling and necessary IMO. I tell her that I am sorry when I do somethiing hurtful also, that way she knows that even adults make mistakes. She does it automatically and she's 27 mos. I giggle inside whenever she bumps into me and says, "I sorry momma." Makes me proud that she is so sweet and usually conscious of her actions.

    Answer by kenzie07 at 8:59 PM on Oct. 12, 2009

  • Why make them say they are sorry when they aren't? It would be better to help your child through the situation. Find out why the hitting occurred and give them the tools they need to act appropriately next time. Time outs don't work if they don't know what they should have done in the first place. Why the time out? It makes them sit there. What is learned other than someone else is in control. If you help them understand how to handle the situation next time the behavior will change. Point out how the other child is feeling when she hit them. They are smart. Are you sure you know what happened? Remember a child this age can only see and understand how they feel. They don't quite get how what they do affects another person.

    Answer by Lifes-A-Dance at 10:16 PM on Oct. 12, 2009

  • I am kind of conflicted on this one also. I have my daughter say sorry, and sometimes she does it on her own, but she used to fight it also. I don't like the idea of forcing it, but I also don't like her hurting someone else. I suppose it is possible that we don't always know the whole situation. She could have been defending herself and the other child didn't get caught. I have noticed my daughter (4yrs old) expects that I know everything that happens, even when I am not around. She will ask me if I remember something that happened at grandmas or school when I wasn't even there. She doesn't really 'get' that concept. Also I agree with 'lifes-a-dance'. Teaching them is the main goal.

    Answer by Allie428 at 9:17 AM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • I wouldn't force them to apologize, they may not be sorry for what they did. I would explain that what was done hurts and that is not ok. I would tell the child to give a hug and be done with it. If they say sorry then that is a plus but just giving the hug is an apology without actually saying the word. A young child may not understand the concept behind apologizing to begin with.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 2:32 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • I t would be nice for her to say. she was sorry if she didn't mean to. or if she was told by an adult to say she was sorry for doing or saying something she was not supposed to do or say . then yes. but if she had the right to say or do something and show how she feels .then I say no.

    Answer by incarnita at 3:20 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • If you had spanked her well for hitting her cousin, she very well might have been sorry for what she did. When her consequences do not match the pain that she inflicted on someone else, of course she isn't sorry, and you should not force her to lie and say that she is. What you should do is make very certain that she is sorry for what she did.

    Answer by NannyB. at 4:35 PM on Oct. 13, 2009