Relationship Repair allows students to fail and have a way to come back. It also supports healthy conflict and relationship restoration.
Apologizing is a good topic for discussion early in the school year.
It can be a good segue into discussions about empathy, point of view, forgiveness, or learning from mistakes depending on where your students take it.
Discussion points can include:
Real vs Fake Apologies
Is there more to an apology than the word “sorry”?
What are some criteria that an apology should have in order to be authentic?
Do people have to forgive someone right away when an apology happens?
Some things to consider when establishing guidelines for apologies and repairing relationship are that it if a person is genuinely wanting to repair a mistake than it is not the time for excuses and defensiveness. Do not rationalize with a lot of buts. Here are some other examples of things not to say; “Sorryyyy…” or “I’m sorry you feel that way”, “Stop being so sensitive”, “I was just kidding”,“You did __________ so…” or over-the-top apologies. an apology should not be a monologue, it should be a conversation.
Acknowledge what happened and take responsibility for it.
(“I did a thing that harmed you.”)
Empathize and ask.
(“That must have felt _________. Is that true?”).
(“What can I do to make it up to you?” or “How can I repair this with you?”)
Students how to apologize is simple when you focus on the underlying skills and steps students need to go through. Teach them to apologize meaningfully, provide them with practice opportunities without judgment, and you will see them internalize this powerful social-emotional skill.