We’ve weathered our fair share of apology note writing at our house. Just off the top of my head, our topics have included hitting, head butting, face flicking, and nut punching. Not to make you jealous, but we’re very, very experienced apologizers. It’s important as a parent, I think, to lead the charge by screwing up at least once a day — more if you can manage it — and then apologizing so your kid can see by example how it’s done.
Coincidentally, my kid wrote an apology note just last night.
It went like this:
Sorry for hitting you with the hole hop and sorry for hitting you MORE THEN ONCE.
That was a fun family evening.
Given the fact that some of you are new to the parent gig and may not have as much expertise in this area, I thought I might offer some assistance. Some advice. Some guidelines. Some tips. Longtime parents like to do this sort of thing from time to time to convince ourselves we’ve learned something. Anything at all, really. Bear with us, OK? Be kind. Our advice may be obvious, but we need to give it.
5 Tips for Kids on Writing Apology Notes
- Say you’re sorry. It looks like this: “I am sorry.” I know it’s a terrible thing to have to do, kid, but everyone owes an apology from time to time. Suck it up. Get it done. Move on. It will prepare you for paying bills someday.
- Say what the apology is for. For example, “I am sorry I ended the last sentence with a preposition.” Make sure the letter recipient knows you understand what you did. It’s a stand-up thing to do, it helps diffuse anger, and, believe it or not, you’ll feel better when you admit where you were wrong.
- Don’t excuse your behavior with if’s or but’s. Not even when you have a really good reason for what you did. For example, “If you hadn’t stolen my colored pencil, you Mean Stealing Stealer Who Steals, I wouldn’t’ve had to flick you in the FACE” might better be expressed screaming into your pillow than in writing. Stuff in writing can come back to bite you. Don’t make it worse.
- Spell words correctly. Like “hula hoop” which is spelled H-U-L-A H-O-O-P and is definitely not spelled H-O-L-E H-O-P. Baby, it’s important for you to know I’m willing to talk to you about anything. Anything at all. That’s my commitment as your mama. Open communication. Answering questions to the very best of my ability. But, for both our sakes, can we wait on this one a few years? Yes? Oh, thank God.
- Express your commitment not to do it again. And then don’t do it again.
P.S. “And then don’t do it again.” Hahahahahaha! I’m 39 years into attempts on that one. No luck yet. But if this apology thing was easy, everyone would be doing it.