You’re raising your girl to be responsible for what she says and does, and know when and how to give a sincere apology when she messes up. But is she apologizing more than she needs to?
Studies show women are more likely than men to presume they were in the wrong or think their own actions might have upset someone, and those patterns start early. There could be many reasons for this, but some think girls and women are quick to apologize because they’re taught to “keep the peace” and be nurturers who put the emotional wellbeing and happiness of others first.
So often, girls and women start talking by saying, “I’m sorry, but I feel like [fill in the blank]”—and that sentence structure can literally become a habit.
The problem? When your girl apologizes for something that wasn’t her fault, others might start to see her as someone who is at fault. Someone whose shortcomings inconvenience others, even if that’s far from the case.
Read this list with your girl, and remind her that although it’s important to make amends when she’s truly done something wrong, apologizing when she hasn’t can undermine how others see her and damage her self-worth.
There's no need to say "sorry”…
So what can she say instead of sorry? Tell your girl to start by saying how she’s feeling in short, declarative sentences. So instead of “I’m sorry, I have a question,” she could say, “I have a question.” Skipping the apology doesn’t make her rude—in fact, it puts apologies back in their rightful role as a way to make amends when she’s actually done something hurtful or wrong.
Stress to your girl the importance of speaking with intention. Apologizing for no reason or when she’s not at fault dilutes the sentiment. Have her save it for when it counts. When it’s heartfelt and for the right reasons, the power of “sorry” will be more meaningful both to her and to the person on the receiving end!
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