The Six A’s of Apology

sorry_apologyHas an apology ever left you feeling frustrated and unvalidated? How about the apology that subtly blames you? It usually goes something like this, “I’m sorry that you got your feelings hurt.”

When our kids give us a lame apology, it can make us especially angry because on some level, we feel as if we have failed to help them understand their wrongdoing and to take ownership of it.

The Six A’s of Apology can fix that!

Ted Cruz 2016


A true apology is an expression of a person’s regret or remorse for having wronged another, and it is a critical part of genuine conflict resolution.

#1 Admit You Were Wrong

The first step of a true apology is to admit that your actions were wrong and explain how they were offensive. Frankly, this is where most people blow it. The person on the receiving end of an apology needs to know that the offender agrees with them about what went wrong.

Woodrow Wilcox


For example, “I touched your things without your permission and made a mess in your room, and it made you feel like I didn’t care about you. That was wrong.”

#2 — Accept Responsibility

Often, an apology is weakened by a subtle shift of blame or an excuse. Sometimes a person will even try to find something redeeming in their behavior in order to relieve some of the burden of responsibility. (“I should not have been playing in your jewelry box, but I did put everything back when I was done.”)

As parents, we need to make sure we are not causing our children to stumble on this one. It’s tempting to think, “Well, it was wrong, but he was just following along with what the other kids were doing.” Accepting full responsibility is a critical part of the apology, and it is an important step toward restoration.

#3 — Apologize

Next comes a sincere statement of apology, which includes a complete statement of why the person is apologizing.

For example, “I am sorry that I disrespected your belongings and made you feel dishonored.”

#4 — Ask For Forgiveness

It’s humbling to ask for forgiveness, but it’s an important part of the process, and it invites the other person into the conversation. (“Will you please forgive me?”)

#5 — Alter Your Behavior

An apology seems empty when the person makes the same mistake again and again. After a person apologizes, he should be thinking of steps to change his behavior in the future. (“The next time my friends are over, we won’t go into your room.”)

#6 — Action Step

Once an apology is made, it is helpful to take an action step that demonstrates sincerity. Sometimes it is as simple as giving the person a hug or smiling brightly. Kids could make a card or pick flowers for the person they upset. An action step can be healing for both the offender and the offended.

Learn more about your Constitution with Jenni and Jody and the Institute on the Constitution and receive your free gift.

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

Comment Rules: Please confine comments to salient ones that add to the topic; Profanity is not allowed and will be deleted; Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will be deleted.

Similar Posts:

Jenni Stahlmann and Jody Hagaman are super moms with nine children between them, from an attorney to a toddler, and one on the autism spectrum. Together they host Parenting On Purpose with Jenni and Jody, a one-hour weekly talk radio show. They are parenting experts and leaders in the homeschool community, as well as weekly newspaper columnists and freelance writers.
Jenni Stahlmann and Jody Hagaman
View all articles by Jenni Stahlmann and Jody Hagaman
Print Friendly


Comments are closed.