Timeout with Nanny Robina: Kids Who Refuse to Apologize

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My six-year-old can’t stand apologizing to people. She refuses to admit she did anything wrong. It’s not like she’s going to get in trouble for saying sorry, but for some reason she can’t get the words out. Any ideas?

Mmm, I am guessing she is embarrassed at the attention she has caused. Have you asked her why she feels it is so difficult to say sorry? A child being made to apologize is now accepting the blame. Six-year-olds are not quick to come forward to admit to blame. It also could be a power struggle as she sees your need for her to apologize! At six, she is old enough to understand the importance of an apology. She needs to know that when an apology is expected there are no excuses. Although you emphasize that she will not get into trouble for saying sorry, you must also emphasize that she will get in trouble for NOT saying sorry! If an apology is needed, and probably expected, then a consequence should be enforced for the refusal. This might help her make a better decision next time! Make sure that the consequence is both age-appropriate and fitting to the crime. For a child who was not taking responsibility for the action, I would perhaps take away her TV time or her next play date. As a parent it’s your responsibility to find a consequence that works for your daughter. What works for one may be water off a duck’s back
to another!

Published in August 2010

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