Does Forgiveness Make Kids Happier?

August 13, 2016

Quote of the Week

"To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness." -- Robert Muller

Does Forgiveness Make Kids Happier?

"If you’re a parent or an educator, insisting that children apologize is a daily—sometimes hourly—occurrence. Apologizing and naming what we’re sorry for (“I’m sorry…that I called you stupid”) is a major part of our culture’s moral education. We even coach children to really “say it like you mean it” and to “think about” what they’ve done when they’ve harmed someone.

However, we may be forgetting a crucial step in the process of atonement: forgiveness. New research suggests that we should consider focusing not just on the offender but also on the injured child’s response to a wrongdoing."

This week's featured article, from Greater Good Science Center, explores research undertaken by a team in the Netherlands who set out to understand the connection between a child's ability to forgive others and their well-being. It also goes on to offer practical ways grown-ups can support children to practice forgiveness.

Reading Corner

Title: The Forgiving Lion
By: Efrat Haddi
Ages: 3-8

"The Forgiving Lion tells the story of Leo, a young lion who lived with his family in Africa. Leo had many friends and he loved to play with everyone. He especially loved to play with Rose, a Lioness about the same age as him and with Crown , a younger lion cub. The only problem was that when Leo’s friends did something wrong , Leo didn’t want to forgive them. Leo’s Father, who was the pack leader, teaches him the value of forgiveness and why he shouldn't hold a grudge. Author Efrat Haddi is taking young children on a journey with Leo and his friends while they learn a very important lesson. The Forgiving Lion helps to teach children an important social skill that can make home life happier and school more successful." -- Publishers

Be the Change

Find a teachable moment this week to help your children understand what forgiveness is all about -- it could be a moment in which you forgive them for something, or perhaps a moment when you encourage them to forgive a friend or sibling. Use this moment as an opportunity to help them understand the stages of forgiveness discussed in this week's featured article and why it's so positive to forgive others.