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We all want our kids to grow into good human beings. Part of that is instilling values and teaching them ethics and morals so that they can step into the world as empowered human beings.

But, how exactly does one do that? Do you force your little one to do as you say, hoping that one day, it will just become automatic? And if you don’t force it, how exactly do you instill these values? Well, I am glad you asked. Part of being a good person includes being able to take responsibility for your actions and own up to when you have been wrong. When our little one ends up knocking another child on the playground down, we want them to want to apologize. But, how exactly do we go about this?

Well, according to parenting experts, while it may be tempting to say, “You better tell them you are sorry!” It’s best to go about it a little differently. Here are 6 steps that will help you along the way.

1. Let the situation simmer down.

Instead of jumping right in, allow the situation to subside. if a child was knocked down, injured, or disrespected they might be upset. And even if your child is the one who knocked the other child down, they are going to feel injured too. So calm them, and let the situation simmer down before proceeding.

2. Don’t overreact.

Even if your child was in the wrong, it’s likely that if you begin to yell at them or anything like that, you are only going to get the opposite reaction you seek. So, play it cool, and remain calm but firm.

3. Re-iterate what just happened.

Explain the situation in detail. Go over every single aspect to make sure your child understands. If your little one shoved a child, make sure they know that they cannot do that. If she grabbed a toy from another child, remind her that she needs to ask.

4. Use empathy statements.

Use statements like, “When you shoved Suzie, it hurt her shoulder and made her cry. Her feelings are hurt and now she is sad. You don’t like it when you feel sad, because it’s not a good feeling.”

5. Empower your child to apologize.

Continue and ask your child how they believe they should say sorry. They will likely feel drawn to give a hug, simply say they are sorry or give the child a flower. Whatever they come up with, encourage them.

6. Lead by example.

Always, always make sure that you practice what you preach. When you hurt your child’s feelings, apologize. If you were wrong about something, say you are sorry. Kids do as we do, not just as we say.