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    Teaching Children Forgiveness

    Teaching Children Forgiveness

    Why Teach Forgiveness?

    Understanding a nuanced concept like forgiveness takes a lot of guidance, but ultimately it will help kids get along better in social situations and, later, build lasting, healthy relationships. So how can you teach your child forgiveness?

    First, make sure your child understands what forgiveness is. Remember, forgiving someone isn’t forgetting what they did or condoning their behavior. It’s more about moving past an incident, letting go of resentment, and giving someone a second chance.


    Encourage your child to explore not just their feelings but the feelings of the person who wronged them. How exactly did the perceived slight make your child feel? Angry? Embarrassed? Hurt? What do they think motivated the offender to take an action against them? It’s important that your child has a basic emotional literacy of the situation. Simply talking about what occurred can prove therapeutic.

    Understanding forgiveness is the first step; practicing it brings a new challenge. Encourage your child to talk things out when they feel hurt. The act of forgiving not only makes the forgiven person feel relieved, it brings the same feelings to the forgiver, too. If your child understands this empathetic exchange, they’ll have a much easier time forgiving – and asking for forgiveness.


    Forgiveness in Teenagers

    Teenagers develop their own unique set of problems when it comes to forgiveness. Complex situations, like being mad at someone but still wanting them as a friend, or being disappointed in someone they love, can be challenging to sort through. Try getting your teen to organize their feelings on paper; when they are ready, have them rip up the paper – a gesture of letting go.

    As Buddha once famously said, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  Learning to forgive is a gift – make sure you give it to your kids!

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