UK folk say it a lot and often.

“Sorry” seems to be a word to absolve us of life’s errors from accidental blunders to the colossal intentional mistakes. Sometimes we mean it. Sometimes it’s simply politeness.

Whatever the reason behind the apology, it’s fundamental to how we relate to others and an important aspect of ethics.

However, according to child psychologist, Michael Carr-Gregg, “I think the word “sorry” has lost its meaning”.

What? When did this happen?

Every now and then I have to wonder about experts and their latest revelations. And there is nothing about this one to make me change my mind about old fashioned manners and doing the right thing.

Of course young children have no idea about the significance of words. So the “please” and “thank you” we teach them start off as simple parroting. It’s a beginning to understand compassion and being grateful.

Similarly, sorry is more than a word. The concept of remorse is a starting point for a conversation to learn. It takes time. Some of these times there will be opportunity for a longer discussion to explain emotions and empathy. When this is not possible, defer “the talk” but ensure you follow through. As with most lessons, it’s the consistency you instil that sets the stage for future behaviour.

It bamboozles me when I see parents and carers neglecting to parent. Actually, more than anything it saddens me. Yes, parenting is a tough gig. No, there aren’t excuses for shirking responsibility.

Children are not to blame for repeated unacceptable behaviour. Challenging the boundaries and rules is how they learn. So do them, and yourselves a favour, to take the time and interest to show them.

And now I will calm down, take a breath, stop my bossy Nanny V finger waving, and admit to making many mistakes. Like the time I thought it’d be a great idea to organise a mud fight. But that’s another story.

I subscribe to the basics … "Play fair. Don’t hit people. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody." It’s a good start for everyone.

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