Teach Kids to Make Amends after a Friendship Fallout

  Soupstock/Veer Images

Soupstock/Veer Images

Is your child feeling badly about himself because of a falling out he had with a sibling or a friend?

You can help him to feel better about himself by encouraging him to take steps to repair the relationship.

Researchers at Baylor University (who reported on their findings in The Journal of Positive Psychology) have discovered that it is easier for us to forgive ourselves for hurting other people if we look for ways to make amends.

Because children are still learning the art of relating to other people, relationship mistakes happen — and children need to know what to do to make things better for themselves and the other person. 

Instead of allowing themselves to be mired in guilt, children should be encouraged to take action to repair the relationship. Depending on the circumstances, that might involve issuing a heartfelt apology or replacing a friend or sibling’s toy if the child lost or broke it. 

Sometimes people feel so badly after they have hurt another person that they can’t let go of negative emotions like guilt. They feel that they deserve to feel badly and, as a result, they become stuck in this negative emotional state. This puts them at risk of experiencing health problems. An inability to self-forgive contribute to depression, anxiety, and a weakened immune system. Also, getting stuck in a state of guilt also does nothing to repair the relationship that has been damaged.

Relationship repair, on the other hand, paves the way to self-forgiveness, leading to much happier and healthier outcomes for all.

Pinocchio Syndrome: What happens when parents lie to kids?

  Veer Images: keng po leung

Veer Images: keng po leung

Children who are lied to are more likely to lie and cheat themselves. That's the word from researchers at the University of California at San Diego, who studied the effects of being lied to by an adult on a group of children, ages three through seven. They discovered that the children who were lied to by one of the researchers were more likely to lie and cheat themselves.

Lying to kids might seem like a convenient parenting shortcut -- a seemingly harmless way to get kids to do what you want them to do quickly and efficiently, but there are actually some hidden perils. If you think about it, you'll realize that it's actually a highly manipulative behaviour that can damage your relationship with your child (you risk having your child lose trust in you) and that can mess with your child's moral compass (that all-important inner voice that helps your child to figure out for herself what's right and what's wrong). 

A better approach (and one that will serve you better over the long run) is to be honest with your child. Sure, you may have to deal with a few more outbursts over the short-run as your child learns to work through his frustration over the issues of the day, but you'll be trading short-term pain for long-term gain. You'll be building up (rather than eroding) your relationship with your child and you'll be helping your child to develop a strong moral compass. Both you and your child will be much better off as a result. And that's no lie.