Positive Apology

by Scott Noelle

A conventional apology is rooted in the apologizer’s fear of unworthiness. Young children, who know their inherent worthiness, rarely apologize except under duress or when emulating adults.

Fortunately, there’s an empowering alternative that you can model for your child. When you realize you’ve taken a wrong turn in your parenting, you can give your child a positive apology. The thoughts behind it might go like this:

“All Is Well with me and you. Our well-being and worthiness are certainties. I am aware that some of my past actions were out of accord with who and what I know myself to be. And in that awareness, I have more clarity about how I want to interact with you from now on.”

In other words, a positive apology is an affirmation of Who You Really Are and your vision for the relationship. No shame. No blame.

Children often give positive apologies spontaneously (and unapologetically!) in their own ways — for example, with a hug or by saying “I love you.”

Improve Your Groove

Next time you feel like apologizing to your child, speak as if you were expressing only love and appreciation. Remember, your “vibe” matters more than your words.

Originally published on 2006-09-12
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