"A child without rules is like a fish out of water. "

Teaching a Child to Say "I'm Sorry"


How do I make my child say they're sorry when they hurt someone or did something wrong?


Manners make the world go round, and it is frustrating when our children don't have them. Saying "I'm sorry" is an important social behavior, and yet our children have a hard time understanding why. If your child is under 3 years old, simply have them repeat "I'm sorry for hitting you." They won't understand, but they will begin to understand the social norms. If the child is older it is really the same thing. Simply insist they say they are sorry and for what they are sorry. We can't make a child feel a certain way, but it is our job as parents to help them become prosocial beings.

Manners are the way we think of others. Saying "I'm sorry" is not that different from teaching your child to say, "Thank you" or "Please," or any other prosocial language you want them to learn. Be consistent and hopefully they will learn to say it on their own sooner rather than later. You can start "Manner of the Month" which will help your child to understand there are certain ways we treat people. Teaching good manners will be a benefit to not only you, but your child and society. As my Mother always said, "'Please and thank you' are magic words that will open doors for those who use them." Hang in there. This is an important skill to teach.

Nadine Knapp
Leadership Parenting Coach

Subscribe To Get More From ParentGuru

Subscribers enjoy access to all questions and answers.


Return to Previous Page

View All Questions