This parenting expert has a far better solution than forcing kids to apologize

Is there anything more annoying than when your kid does something they know they aren’t supposed to, get caught, and respond by “apologizing” with an empty “sorry” in that fake voice so you can tell they really don’t mean it? You know they aren’t getting anything out of that, but what are you supposed to do instead? This parenting expert has a great idea for those moments.

Parenting coach Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta says she doesn’t “force” children to say they’re sorry.


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♬ original sound – Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta

“Instead, I have them do an action,” she explains in a now-viral video. “Go get an ice pack, go get a stuffie, what do you think would help? I’m facilitating an action that is reparative. What I do not want is a child to say, ‘I’m sorryyyy’ in that yucky voice. They get nothing out of it. It does not feel authentic to the child that was hurt. And the child that did the thing learns nothing.”

The child who did the harm gets to take a break from the situation—to walk away to get the helpful item. Meanwhile, you get a few minutes to comfort the hurt child.

“I care about the action of repair,” Hauge-Zavaleta continues. “I care that the child who has had the impact, regardless of the intent, is able to do something.”

To create more of a lesson out of the situation, she says you can circle back later with the kid, and say something like, “That was so nice that you got an ice pack for your friend,” or “Sometimes, people get hurt while we’re playing, but it’s so cool that you always recognize when someone needs help.”

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