4 Steps to a Genuine Apology

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As a mom to young children, I never quite knew how to teach my kids to apologize. I knew what I didn’t want to do.  I didn’t want to stand them face to face with the ‘victim ‘and make them utter an insincere “I’m sorry”.

How could I teach them to apologize correctly when I didn’t know how to give an appropriate apology myself? I would like think the reason for this was because I never needed to exercise that skill, but I think we all know that is not the case. We all need to be able to convey a sincere apology, and we need to teach our children how to do so.

I came across this apology method at CuppaCocoa.com. I wish I had read it 25 years ago! It would have spared me many sloppy attempts at saying I am sorry.

how to apologize


4 Steps to a Genuine Apology

1.)    I’m sorry for…: Be specific.The other person wants to know you know how you hurt them.

2) This is wrong because…: Help the offender understand why what they did was wrong. Show the person you hurt that you really understand how they feel.

 3) In the future, I will…: Use positive language, and say what you WILL do, not what you won’t do.

 4) Will you forgive me? It’s important to try to restore your relationship. There is no guarantee that the other person will forgive you. Sometimes, they won’t. Ask anyway.

See the full story here.


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  1. Diana says:

    I was just going through this yesterday with bk and etb! I love it!

  2. Ai says:

    This is such an important thing to teach our children. #4 (asking for forgiveness) is so important. It allows the offender to be humble (often, kids and adults, can say “I’m sorry” but cannot say “Will you forgive me?”). But it also gives the offended a chance to respond. Sometimes the hardest part is not asking for forgiveness, but to forgive. I also think that another way to teach our children the right way to apologize is to model it. Often, as parents, we don’t want to humble ourselves and have to ask our own children for our failings.

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