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Saying sorry at 2

(28 Posts)
ComradeJing Tue 19-Feb-13 05:40:43

Dd is just two and for the 2nd time in 2 days we've had the same issue.

Both times she has done something and I'd like her to apologise. The first time she hit her baby (12w) brother and made him cry. I said something like, 'please don't hit Ds, its not nice. He's crying now, he's sad - you need to say sorry.'

The second time I stupidly left something out and she wrecked it. No big deal - I shouldn't have left it out. I caught her doing it, told her not to and asked her to say sorry again.

Both times I asked her to say sorry she had a massive, massive melt down and was sobbing like I was physically torturing her. The first time, stupidly, it became a fight about saying sorry:

Me: say sorry dd
Dd: (sobbing) no, no, no, I no sorry.

In the end I dropped it because I was worried thr it had obviously become a battle of wills about this bloody word and I thought I probably wasn't handling this the best way anyway.

MammaCici Tue 26-Feb-13 16:28:41

My DS 2.4yrs is a late speaker and his vocab is still quite limited. He does however like saying "sorry", to the extent that he'll bump into us or hit us on purpose just so he can say sorry. He also says sorry to inanimate objects that he bumps into. It's quite sweet.
When he is naughty we get him to sit on his own in the hallway for a minute or two. Removing toys also. He never says sorry when asked to say it but I don't think he understands yet. It will come with time. We let him know which behaviours are unacceptable. The rest will come with time - I hope!

PirateHat Mon 25-Feb-13 22:51:18

My just turned 2 year old will say sorry if told too, but it just seems to have taught her that if she says sorry straight away then it cancels out the, eg, punch she dished out to her 10 month old brother

This is why I don't force my ds to say Sorry. I say it when appropriate and sometimes he says it when it is too. Sometimes he doesn't! Because he's still learning how to talk and how to behave.

I don't want to get into a battle with him over saying a magic word. If I don't want another adult to think I'm not bothered about what he's done, I apologise and then talk to him about what has happened. It's the long run I'm concerned about.

PipPipPip Sun 24-Feb-13 22:24:09

Hi all,

in a hurry so haven't read all the posts above - apologies if I'm repeating someone else.

ANYWAY, I was just talking to a friend today who is a nursery teacher. She said that it is important to allow children to come up with their own ways to apologise, and in their own time.

For example, if a child snatches a toy, rather than say "That was naughty, you must say sorry"

it may be better to say "snatching the toy upset James. Let's have a think about how we could make him feel better".

The kid might then suggest saying sorry, giving him a cuddle, sharing the toy or doing a drawing. And it might take a little while, and the kid might need time to think about it.

Anyway, I thought that was a great tip and will be trying it out as my daughter (almost two) reaches that stage.

estya Fri 22-Feb-13 17:07:11

I have strong feelings about asking a child to cuddle to say sorry when they've hurt someone.
When my DD has been hit by an older child she always looks scared when the
child comes heading back towards her, raising her arms etc.
A cuddle doesn't make the victim feel better, she wants cuddles from her mummy, not the 'bad' kid.
I think it only serves to make the parent of the child feel better.

estya Fri 22-Feb-13 17:01:30

Toddlers are very honest so they aren't going to want to say sorry if they don't feel it. They'll stand by what they believe.

Its lovely for a toddler to say sorry but its sad when they are parading it out parrot fashion. I've seen 2YOs saying 'sorry' to their mums as they are being dragged off to time out. I don't think they are sorry they did what they did (especially as their mum isn't the victim to be apologised to), just sorry they are being told off for it.

I did lots of reading up about how to handle my DD (1.11) when she hurt the newborn. There are "experts" that come front he angle of training a child to behave in a certain way (ie train a 2 YO to have manners of a much older child or adult) and those that say the best way is to help the child understand why their behaviour isn't socially acceptable. If you can show them the hurt they have caused they'll feel regretful and (presuming they hear the word sorry used to them etc) they'll know the right words to say and the apology will be from the heart.

In this house we teach 'excuse me' when someone is in the way, we always use 'please' and 'thank you' in the house and DD uses it as a matter of course.

There are plenty of years for her to learn that you say 'thank you' when granny gives another pot of jam.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Thu 21-Feb-13 05:36:12

We have the same thing - DD gets very upset at being made to say sorry, but she will do it now. Stick with it!

cloudhands Thu 21-Feb-13 05:21:28

thumbs I'm glad you like the website, it's great isn't it?

lljkk, maybe I've not explained myself quite clearly enough. I'm not saying that we shouldn't tell polite white lies, from time to time, but the lie should come from within you not because of your parents forcing you to say it.
Our children will learn the social norms of please and thank you, just by us modelling them well. I reckon that if we say please ''thank you' or 'sorry' to our kids and to others of course, then that is the most effective way to get them to say it.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Wed 20-Feb-13 18:37:35

But it's not good manners to hit someone and then say sorry is it? Or to snatch their toy and say sorry because you know you've been spotted and you don't want to get shouted. I agree with you re thank you. I am trying to teach him to sign thank you because I think it might be a while before he can say it.

lljkk Wed 20-Feb-13 18:06:32

So I shouldn't bother saying "thank you" when granny gives me yet another pot of her hideous home-made jam for Christmas that I've told her many times I never use?

Or "please" when I'm furious with DC for not doing what I told them to do the first three times I asked?

Or "Excuse me" when somebody is obliviously standing in the way of everyone?

We tell social lies all the time. They are called good manners. The oil that keeps the wheels of society running.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Wed 20-Feb-13 17:08:38

My 2 yr old cant say sorry yet, but totally agree with what cloudhands said. Re other parents expecting a sorry...I tend to take him aside and get down on his level then explain how his actions make the other person feel. Then I take him with me while I say sorry.

Love the website cloudhands linked to, thanks!

cloudhands Wed 20-Feb-13 17:02:30

hmmm. Maybe but, isn't it better for the sorry to come naturally from the child because the parent forced them to say it?
i think if a child can observe people using the word sorry, and learn what it means, and then use it when they feel it's appropriate then that's enough. You can't force a child to feel something, and sorry is about a feeling, an expression of remorse.

lljkk Wed 20-Feb-13 16:39:32

I think they understand that "sorry" is about admitting they did something wrong. Even an under 2 can understand that. Which is enough for me.

cloudhands Wed 20-Feb-13 16:28:33

it's hard when our kids do ''naughty'' things, and we want somehow for them to learn their lesson, and hope they won't do the same thing again.
But i don't think forcing them to say sorry is the answer. Kids don't learn empathy till about 6 or 7, so it's much too hard for them to understand at 2 that they have hurt and upset you and need to say sorry.
Being forced to say sorry just teaches them that sometimes adults to expect them to say things they don't mean (e.g to lie) or that they sometimes have to say things that seem meaningless to them and they don't really understand.
I think modelling, love empathic behaviour, and saying your sorry is the best way to teach a child about saying sorry, but it may take time.
I read a brilliant quote in 'How to talk to kids so the kids will listen, so the kids will talk,' about how all misbehaviour is caused by a kid who has upset feelings. So the best thing to do, is to connect with our children, see if we can help them process their feelings, and offer them empathy and love, rather than expect them to offer empathy to a younger sibling or parent, that is a bit beyond them.
Could your DD be adjusting to the change of having a new baby, and be playing up a bit because of the big feelings they are experiencing?
Hand in Hand parenting is my favourite parenting resource and has lots of articles and information to help you deal with your child's feelings, -- the root of all misbehaviour. here's a great article to deal with sibling issues, and there are loads more on their site, Sibling Solutions

Wossname Wed 20-Feb-13 15:51:23

Ha yes, my 10 month old got a crack on the head followed immediately by 'oh I sorry the baba, I naughty'

BumgrapesofWrath Wed 20-Feb-13 15:48:00

See, I think what is the point of getting them to say sorry if they don't mean it? So I wouldn't be pushing for it to be honest. Aren't you just teaching them to pay lip service rather than being truthful?

Wossname Wed 20-Feb-13 15:46:28

My just turned 2 year old will say sorry if told too, but it just seems to have taught her that if she says sorry straight away then it cancels out the, eg, punch she dished out to her 10 month old brother, so I've stopped asking for an apology now. Trying to encourage cuddles betweem them instead.

prozacbear Wed 20-Feb-13 15:39:41

DS does this too; I imagined most 2-year-olds did?!

With 'sorry', it's because he knows he's being bad. He gets sulky and avoids eye contact. I will ask him to say it three times and if he doesn't, I let him know that this means he'll be going in the naughty corner, which he stays in for 2 minutes. He does actually say it.

Interestingly DS also hated please and thank you - it took three or so weeks to instill both in him. Say 'bugger' once though, and it was part of the vocabulary!

ComradeJing Wed 20-Feb-13 11:38:58

Thank you again!

Yes, we're going to ask her to say it. Bless her little soul. They are delicious at this age but she can be a bossy little boots sometimes. I've no idea where's he's gets it from

amyboo Wed 20-Feb-13 09:58:27

It might be just words, but then most things are at first aren't they? You could easily say the same about words like "please" and "thank you". But, by teaching her the word and showing her its significance now, she'll soon start to understand it.

matana Wed 20-Feb-13 09:11:46

DS is 2.2 and i ask him to say sorry. I agree that it's still just words to him but i think it's important to begin teaching him remorse (and forgiveness!) sooner rather than later. It will be some time before he really understands what is a very complex concept, but i think it's important for me not to be perceived by other parents as condoning his behaviour. But then i have a hitter/ biter and i'm at a loss to know what else to do when he goes through a particularly bad phase. Aggression is really the only thing i ask him to apologise for though because in most situations where LOs are involved it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. With everything else i just try to gently teach him the right way of doing something - like taking turns to share etc.

I did get particularly annoyed with my bil when DS was just 18mo when he stood over him repeatedly telling him to say sorry to my niece. I mean, WTF? He couldn't even say the word then! And to be fair to DS, he was retaliating in the only way he knew how after my DN took a toy from him. He didn't have the words to say "Excuse me, i was playing with that. Can i have it back please?"

ComradeJing Wed 20-Feb-13 08:13:29

Thank you everyone. I really appreciate your advice. I feel like parenting dd is like sailing into unknown waters!

Tranquility I suspected as much re it being just words to her. Is it still worth pushing for an apology? How would you deal with it?

Tranquilitybaby Wed 20-Feb-13 00:43:49

You may get a child under 3 to say sorry but they will no real understanding what it means, it's just words to them.

AnaisB Tue 19-Feb-13 06:49:11

Tbh i'm not sure of the best way to manage it, but i do think there's an argument for leaving it for a month or two. We stopped getting dd to apologise as she loved the drama of saying "sorry" kissing and cuddling ds etc and started just giving her 1 min in hallway and then letting her back in without saying anything.

getoffthecoffeetable Tue 19-Feb-13 06:36:56

Stick with it. DS first learnt to say sorry by hugging but will now say the word as well as hug. I turn off tv and pick up any toys he's playing with and tell him I won't play until he's said sorry. It's a battle of wills but not one that he's won yet. Good luck.

amyboo Tue 19-Feb-13 06:29:00

I'd stick with it. We started making DS apologise when h was about 22 months. At first we'd just make him hug/kiss whoever he had to apologise to, as he couldn't actually say "sorry". When he was about 2 ish he started also saying the word. At first he would sometimes tantrum. So we'd simply sit him in the hallway and go back at 1/2 minute intervals and ask him if he was ready to apologise yet. He still does this now sometimes (age 3) but he'll always eventually give in. We always get down to his level and make sure he understands what he's done wrong. Sometimes he'll refuse to apologise for a while, but we just make it clear that we're not moving on until he apologises. Eventually the desire to go and play wins over and he'll give in.

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