How to Teach Remorse to Children

Written by laurenkrotosky
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How to Teach Remorse to Children
Children who show no remorse can be taught a lesson. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Remorse is that feeling in your gut letting you know you've done something wrong, causing you to feel guilty. If your child doesn't seem to show remorse when caught breaking rules or acting out at school, you may need to take some steps to begin teaching remorse. Remorse can be instilled in children using a few strategies, like teaching about consequences and showing what happens to others when you've broken rules. You can even get the whole family involved in the lesson.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Ask your child how he feels after he's broken a rule. Understanding the feelings he has, be it shame, fear, or ambivalence, can help you determine how to handle the situation.

  2. 2

    Ask your child why she did what she did. Certain actions, like stealing candy or making fun of another child in class, can come from goals, like wanting more spending money or wanting to be popular at school.

  3. 3

    Explain to your child new ways to achieve his goals without the wrongdoing: for example, doing chores to earn money to buy candy or joining a club or sport at school to make friends in a positive way.

  4. 4

    Demonstrate to your child how her actions hurt other people. For example, if your child made a girl cry at school, tell her how sad she made another child.

  5. 5

    Instruct your child to apologise to the people he has hurt with his actions. Make sure the apology is sincere, though.

  6. 6

    Check out books from the library on children and remorse. A new perspective may give you the tools to steer your child in the right direction.

  7. 7

    Consult a child psychologist if your child continues to show no remorse. A licensed therapist may be able to reach your child in ways you can't.

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