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© Gail Underwood Parker

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Focus on Fostering- Saying I'm Sorry ... a solution

For kids in care, saying 'm sorry face to face can be incredibly terrifying.  Think about it. Remember how hard it is for you to look a boss, or friend, or spouse in the eyes and apologize for something your really messed up?  Now think how many parents raise their voices insisting... "Look at me, when I'm talking to you!" when they are berating a child.  For children who have been abused this can be almost impossible.

So I tried something different to help my kiddos learn to apologize and still feel safe. We made a "Sorry Box."  

1. Buy a small lidded container at a craft store [probably under $2].

2. Have the kids help paint the container and top with poster paints or decorate it with stickers and markers.

3. Use stickers or glue on letters to spell out " s-o-r-r-y"  on the top of the box.

4. Put the box on the hall table, or kitchen counter, or some other public family place. Prop the lid in the open box.

NOW, when someone needs to apologize, they write [or draw if they can't write] an I'm sorry I.... note and put it in the Sorry Box. Then they put on the lid and put the box on the bed of the person they are apologizing to.

When the person receives the Sorry Box on their bed [or dresser] they read the note, accepts the apology and returns the empty Sorry Box [with lid propped] back in the family spot. That way the writer knows the apology was received and accepted.

Other benefits:
• The child has time to calm down and time and privacy to make the apology
• The child can apologize without confrontation or eye contact needed
• The apology will not be a knee jerk social lie, more likely to be real

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