I've had an issue come up recently and I am hoping you can help. My three year old refuses to apologize. In most situations, whatever happened was accidental (stepping on a playmate's foot or splashing water at the water table and getting it in someone's eyes) but instead of apologizing, she puts her head down and cries.
I don't know where this is coming from. We don't make a big deal of things (YOU MUST APOLOGIZE!) and generally let the kids work things out for themselves. Most times, it's not even a big deal and the action goes unnoticed but if the other child does call her out on it (hey, you stepped on my foot) then a simple "sorry" and it would be over but it turns into a show stopper because she cries and refuses to apologize and then is too upset to continue playing and must be removed from the situation.
I've tried talking to her about it at another time when her emotions are not so raw. I've explained that she doesn't have to cry, all she has to do is say sorry but she starts to cry all over again saying, "BUT IT WAS AN ACCIDENT".
I don't want to give her a complex and make it a bigger deal but i don't want her to think it's okay to not apologize for somethings. I've even tried to show her that everyone apologizes. For example, if she and I are playing blocks I will "accidentally" knock over her blocks and say, 'I'm sorry, let me help you fix that,' but she just isn't catching on.
From: Apology Accepted, Marshfield, MA