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How to Make a Powerful Yet Meaningful Apology

You are 20 minutes late for lunch appointment with a friend... Truthfully, this is not the first time you had to apologize today! Between rushing the kids out of the house for school and breaking an agreement with your partner, apologies are feeling too frequent and insincere. Here are some do’s and don’ts for making a powerful yet meaningful apology.

1. Don’t gaslight (making the other person questions their reality) “You must have heard me wrong. I said 1ish.” Comments like these put the the responsibility for your actions on someone else.

Do take responsibility for your actions. “You are right. I am REALLY late!”

2. Don’t put the blame on them. “You should have called me if you were worried.”

Do validate their feelings. “You have a right to be irritated with me.”

3. Don’t make excuses for your behavior. “My last appointment ran over time.” No one is interested in your excuses at this moment!

Do admit you were wrong. “I didn’t watch my time effectively.”

4. Don’t talk about how you feel. “I am so embarrassed. I am usually on time.” Again, no one is interested in your feelings at this moment!

Do empathize with how they might be feeling. “It must have been irritating to wait this long.”

5. Don’t over apologize. “I am so sorry. This was so inconsiderate of me. I am REALLY sorry.” Over-apologizing can be misconstrued as you being more concerned about making sure they are not angry with you than you are about their feelings.

Do sincerely apologize once while making good eye with them.

6. Don’t make false promises. “I promise I will never be late again.” It is impossible to make this promise in the future. And it doesn’t alleviate the other person’s negative feelings now.

Do make amends for your behavior. “How about I buy your lunch for inconveniencing you?”

Parenting Practice: Apply these tips with friends and family members. Children often want an explanation for your behavior. In this case, make a very short explanation. Children often want to be reassured that you aren’t angry with them and that you still love them. Being more interested in their feelings than your own feelings is the key to a successful powerful and meaningful apology.

As always, thank you so much for being apart of this parenting journey with me. If I have learned anything this past year, friendships and family are magnificently important. I would love to hear from you! Share with me and others how you are going to apply this parenting practice!

Feeling like this is just the tip of the iceberg? And honestly family life if feeling overwhelming and your at your wits-end? You are not alone and we are here for you. Currently I am accepting 3 families for Redirecting Children's Behavior Coaching. Schedule an appointment with me here today!


The new edition of the "Redirecting Children's Behavior" book is now out! Click here to order your copy on Amazon or Kindle.There are a ton of new materials to help you discipline in a way that connects you and your child during an altercation. Wouldn't you rather that than you and your child walking away feeling empty, frustrated or angry?


Parenting can be quite challenging. But, you don't have to do it alone. Sign up to schedule FREE 30 minute Strategy Session with Kathryn!

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