On the flip side if someone hurts you, they apologize and you say ‘it’s OK’.
Here’s the kicker – it’s actually not OK.
If it were OK, then there would be no need for an apology.
Simply replying ‘it’s OK’ gives the impression that the person has done nothing wrong, and thus there really is no reason for them to apologize.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about forgiveness. I am a firm believer that given particular circumstances, an individual should be given the opportunity for a second chance. And when it comes to raising children, a second, third, fourth (you get the picture) chance is necessary. Children are learning. They started at zero and have to be taught – from you – what is acceptable human behavior (no pressure).
One of the best (and sometimes worst) ways children learn is from modeled behavior. You act one way, and they will mirror – monkey see, monkey do. Sometimes to a fault, children watch us and learn from our every move, word and reaction. Learning early on as a parent to use this to your advantage is a secret weapon in your parenting toolbelt.
With this is mind, I started modeling a new behavior when I was apologized to several years ago. Instead of quickly responding to an apology with ‘OK’, I would respond with ‘thank you’. It definitely threw my husband for a loop the first time he heard it. I think we had gotten in an argument about something, and of course, in the end, I was right. You could see the gears turning in his head as I explained why I was doing away with ‘OK’ and trading it for ‘thank you’.
Since that day, ‘thank you’ has become a phrase spoken after an apology without even a second thought.
I challenge you to give it a try. Instead of teaching your child to say ‘it’s OK’ after someone apologizes to them, try something like “Thank you for apologizing but I do not like when you hit me, please don’t do it again.”
Woah, Katie, that’s entirely too many words.
Yes, I know that’s a heck of a lot of words for a little one to say. So start simple. Trade OK for thank you.
Well all else fails. Hug it out.