How To Teach Kids Forgiveness Skills

April 10, 2021

Quote of the Week

"Forgiveness will not be possible until compassion is born in your heart. " --Thich Nhat Hanh

How To Teach Kids Forgiveness Skills

As psychologist Robert Enright and psychiatrist Richard Fitzgibbons write, forgiveness is a choice to let go of anger toward someone who hurt you and to think, feel, or act with kindness toward that person. They clarify that forgiveness is not being weak—it takes strength and courage to forgive. It is also not forgetting, condoning, or putting up with being hurt; you can forgive while still seeking justice. And forgiveness is different than reconciling with someone; you can forgive without receiving an apology.

Forgiveness might seem like an impossible feat for a child who doesn’t yet have all the tools in her toolbox that adults do to handle emotions like anger and the desire for vengeance. But a wide range of studies have found that forgiveness programs can help kids of different ages feel better, strengthen their relationships, and improve their academic performance. According to Enright, we can learn from these programs about how to teach age-appropriate forgiveness skills, so kids grow up to be more peaceful and forgiving adults. In this week's featured article he describes how to set the stage for forgiveness in your very young children and start building their forgiveness skills as they become young adults

Reading Corner

Title: The Forgiveness Garden
By: Lauren Thompson
Ages: 5-8

"A long time ago and far away--although it could be here, and it could be now--a boy threw a stone and injured a girl. For as long as anyone could remember, their families had been enemies, and their towns as well, so it was no surprise that something bad had happened. Hate had happened. Revenge had happened. And that inspired more hate and more calls for revenge. But this time, a young girl decided to try something different... Inspired by the original Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon, and the movement that has grown up around it, Lauren Thompson has created a timeless parable for all ages that shows readers a better way to resolve conflicts and emphasizes the importance of moving forward together." --Publishers

Be the Change

Watch this video from the Greater Good Science Center on how to help your kids understand forgiveness. Try implementing any of these tips on teaching your children how to forgive others.