By this age children not only understand apologies, but there is evidence that children respond differently after they have heard an apology.
Research shows that children who heard an apology were more likely to share with and be kind to the offender during later play – demonstrating their ability to forgive others.
Forgiveness can be taught and several research papers demonstrate that children in elementary schools who were involved in ‘forgiveness intervention’ programs demonstrated increased ability to forgive as well as improved empathy for others. (Hui EKP, Chau TS. The impact of a forgiveness intervention with Hong Kong Chinese children hurt in interpersonal relationships. Br J Guidance and Counselling. 2009; 37(2): 141-156.
The home environment is the perfect training ground to help children learn the power of forgiveness, and research from Dr. Robert Enright demonstrates that siblings who learn to forgive and trust each other as children will have better relationships during adulthood.
Children who learn to forgive will also be learning the life skill of how to deal with offenses and hurts they will experience later in life.
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