July 31, 2023

Skills Focus on Apologies with Guest Dale Ruburys

This is the second skills focused episode of the season in which Leslie and Dale talk about the art of apologizing. Leslie talks about The Three Step Apology and how it evolved into the technique it is today.

Dale shares her journey with apologies and how she went from feeling like apologizing was impossible to finding the power of apologizing as an adult. She also shares how she went from a blaming child to a responsible adult taking ownership of her behavior. This conversation between mother and daughter, emphasizes the importance of apologizing and the specific parts of an effective apology. They use examples to illustrate the impact that parents can have by apologizing to their children to model that behavior/skill.

4:33 A description of the Three Steps Apology

10:45 Why so many adults have difficulty with apologizing

16:23 Parents modeling apologies

19:50 Children being hard on themselves for making a mistake

21:03 Blaming instead of apologizing

27:00 Apologies without behavior change lose meaning

Show Note Links: 

Three Step Apology A description of what the steps are and examples of how to use this skill.

I would like to give a shout out to Simple Families podcast where I was a guest talking with Denaya Barahona, Phd. all about exposing our children to things they are afraid of, things that we are afraid of and much more.  

Book Reference:  Janis Abrahms Spring How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not to    A well written book with practical advice about the power of forgiveness.  

I would like to give a shout out to Simple Families podcast where I was a guest talking with Denaya Barahona, Phd. all about exposing our children to things they are afraid of, things that we are afraid of and much more.

Credits: Is My Child a Monster is produced by Alletta Cooper, Dale Rubury, and Leslie Cohen-Rubury. Theme music is by L-Ray Music. Public relations is handled by Tink Media. Graphics and Website Design by Brien O’Reilly. by Eric Rubury. A special thanks to everyone who contributes their wisdom and support to make this possible.

TRANSCRIPT OF SHOW:

[Music: The Wilds Beyond by L-Ray Music]

0:00  Leslie Cohen-Rubury:  Hi, this is Leslie Cohen-Rubury And we’re looking for guests for Season 2 of Is My Child A Monster? We’d love to hear from all kinds of families with kids between ages 4 and 18. There’s no problem too big or too small. So if you’d like to volunteer for some free parenting therapy, and are comfortable sharing your sessions publicly with all names changed, of course, please visit ismychildamonster.com to apply.

[Music: The Wilds Beyond by L-Ray Music]

0:35  Dale:  I hated making mistakes. When I misbehaved, that was a mistake in my head. And I felt the shame just internally. And apologizing, once I became comfortable with it, actually gave me a way to feel relief from that.

00:52  Leslie: This is, Is My Child A Monster?, a parenting therapy podcast where you get to listen in as real parents and caregivers share their trials and tribulations in therapy sessions recorded live. I’m your host, Leslie Cohen-Rubury. And I’m a parent and a therapist with 37 years of experience helping families navigate this question. So before we get to today’s episode, I want to tell you about another podcast appearance. I was recently a guest on Simple Families where I got to talk with host Denaye about the value of your child’s struggles. It was a great conversation with lots more information. And I’d love for you to listen. Just search Simple Families wherever you get your podcasts or find a link in today’s show notes. 

Okay, so today we’re doing another skills-focused episode, where we dive deeper into the skill of apologizing, what it is, how it develops, and how to do it without shame. Joining me today to talk about apologizing is my daughter, Dale. Dale has a degree in zoology and spent seven years working at a large primate sanctuary. She now works in the world of construction, where she is currently building yurts and working for Habitat for Humanity. Her next goal is pursuing a graduate degree in physical therapy. She’s also an assistant producer and occasional guest on this podcast. 

The reason I invited her back is because I apologized a lot when she was a kid. And she never apologized and was constantly blaming others. And never is not an exaggeration. It was so frustrating. And it makes sense to be frustrated with your child when they blame others or refuse to apologize. Dale has had quite the transformation with her ability to apologize. And she’s here to talk about that evolution. So let’s get started.

Leslie:  Hi, Dale, it’s so good to see you.

3:11  Dale:  Hi, Mom. Good to see you, too.

3:12  Leslie:  Okay. Well, we just finished the episodes with Kathryn— five episodes—and I’m curious what you’ve been thinking about.

3:20  Dale:  Well, I think it was in the later episodes, specifically, I think episode four, where you start talking a lot about apologies, specifically the three-step apology. And it just brought up all the memories of you apologizing to us as kids and my journey with apologizing because it has…I’ve come a long way since I was little.

3:44  Leslie:  Yes, yes, you have come a long way since you were little. We actually had thought we might not ever get apologies from you. It was really severe as a child. So it’s interesting you want to talk about this.

3:58   Dale:  [Laughter] Well, based on my memory of, that’s how I felt I remember them being near impossible to give out. And now as an adult, I give them out freely. They’re one of my favorite things. So it feels like it could be an interesting conversation to talk about that journey.

4:20  Leslie:  Absolutely. Absolutely.

4:22  Dale:  So for those who maybe didn’t listen to the episode or need a refresher, do you want to talk about just the three-step apology itself?

4:33  Leslie:  Sure. So there are three steps and the first step is: name what you did. And that’s very specific. Give details of your behavior, of the actions, of what you said, what you were doing, what was happening. So lots of detail. Step one: say what you did. Step two is: talk about the impact—the impact that those actions had on you, and more importantly, on the other person, the person who might have been injured. That’s step two, is talking about the impact of those actions. And step three is: making an amend. It could be anything from a random act of kindness to make an amends. Or using the words I’m sorry, that certainly is meant to…what can I do different next time this happens? So that’s the three-step apology.

5:31  Dale:  So that wasn’t quite what it looked like, growing up. [Laughter] I’m guessing it’s evolved since then. But do you remember when I was little, like, four, five, six? What was your approach to apologizing with me, or trying to get me to apologize? What was your approach?

5:54  Leslie:  Okay, that’s a great question. And let me back up for one second, because the truth is, I didn’t have this three-step apology as a concept when you guys were growing up. So I was showing up to parenting, and it was trial by error, and it was using my therapy skills to help me with parenting. And so it ends up that, later, I developed and I named this three-step apology—it became a defined skill. 

But your question was, what did it look like when you were little? Well, really, what guided me was this idea that a lot of times, you know, you might be in public, and you’ll hear parents say, “Say you’re sorry.” And I know I cringe when I hear that. And so when you were little, I didn’t go with a say-you’re-sorry behavior. I saw it happening all around me, it was very common, it was probably advice that was given by the experts. But I just intuitively felt like it was shaming, it just didn’t feel like the right time. So if you were struggling—you had a fight, you did something—my first go-to was not, “Say you’re sorry.” So I did take another approach. And I wanted to create a calm setting, so that you would first feel safe. And that really is, again, using therapy to help me understand what I was doing. Because I didn’t know then what I was doing. Creating a safe environment is the place and time when people learn. Does that make sense?

7:32  Dale:  Yeah. And that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about that. But it is, I feel, a common thing to hear parents demand or just ask or even encourage, even nicely encourage, their kid to apologize. And thinking back right now, I don’t remember that at all. And it feels very counterintuitive, because it’s like, “Oh, if you want somebody to do something, you ask them or tell them to do it.” And it seems counterintuitive, but you never did. So, how did you get me to ever apologize, if you weren’t asking me to do it?

8:12  Leslie:  I had to have a lot of faith. I had to have a lot of faith that this trial-and-error of how I was approaching it was going to work so that we see…we can fast forward and say yes, oh my goodness, it really worked. Because like you said before, you really do apologize. And I’m always amazed at how vulnerable you’re willing to be and how you take responsibility for your actions. 

But backing up, the other reason why—again, maybe it was because what would work and what didn’t work—if I had asked you to apologize when you had just hit your brother or yelled at me or did anything else, I would have gotten escalation. I know you were a child that was going to let me know that you were upset, and I would have gotten so much more argument, it would have been, it would have escalated everything. And I just knew intuitively that that’s not the direction to go in. So instead of making things worse, I didn’t go there. And I didn’t know that that was going to work. But what I did, again, is I gave you a chance, in a way, to save face. Because once you start to ask someone to apologize, I think you’re bringing out the shame.

9:26  Dale:  Yeah, I was going to say like, as you’re talking; like, thinking about what it would have felt like for you to have asked for an apology in those moments. I can almost feel the defensiveness and the anger and escalation rising up, which I think, as you’re saying, does come from a place of shame. I think a lot of times when I was a kid and even now, I knew I had done something wrong. I knew I had been mean to my sister or that I had been impatient or whatever it is. There’s already a little layer of, “Oh, I messed up, I did something wrong,” and shame there. So, a parent, if you had piled on shame, I think sometimes asking for an apology is almost, from the kid’s point of view, pointing a finger, and going, “You did something wrong. And it’s like, “Yeah, I know I did. I know I did something wrong.” But instead of that softening me or creating vulnerability, all it would do is pile on the shame and make me angrier or doubling down. So yeah, it does feel like that would just add on to the shame.

10:45  Leslie:  What I thought about is, I wonder if that’s why so many adults have such a hard time with apologizing?

10:52  Dale:  Yeah, it makes sense. I think you grow up with almost negative associations with apologizing, because you learn that it comes with shame. And I think you probably carry that into adulthood. And then yeah, you hear it all the time and in partnerships at a workplace saying sorry. People, I feel, struggle because they feel like it puts them in a place of weakness and vulnerability and that if they apologize, they’ll feel even more shame. And you didn’t do that. You did something different instead to make it seem not just this piling on of shame. What’d you do instead to make it so that you weren’t just demanding that apology?

11:46  Leslie:  So, I didn’t ignore the behavior. I didn’t ignore the meanness. But I think there are a few things I did. One thing is I would leave it alone. Sometimes just letting you have a moment to see and…Because if I come in and ask you to apologize, if I come in and jump into it with, “Okay, what’s going on here?” it might mean you don’t get to think about your own actions. 

So one thing I definitely did was I just let it go. I just gave you space to think about what you just did. But that wasn’t all the time. Sometimes I came in, and I would name what you just did. I remember one time, we were in the car, coming home from school, and you said something very mean to Carrie. I remember saying to you—because the timing was impeccable—I was saying to you as I got out of the car, “Wow, you must really be having a hard day, Dale; because when we say things that are mean to other people, we might be not feeling so good ourselves.” And I said it, I shut the door and I got out of there really fast. I didn’t want to have a conversation with you about it, because you would have just argued. 

So I remember—it’s like imprinted in my mind—I said it and I ran.

Dale:  That was probably smart. 

Leslie:  Yes. Which again, is that same concept of giving you time to think about it and take it in without having to get defensive. So parents often get caught in the power struggle of trying to teach their child something. And what I did was I gave you an important lesson, I gave you the awareness of your behavior—whether it was right or wrong, that you weren’t feeling great. and you were being mean, based on the fact that you weren’t feeling great—that’s not as important as helping you see, “Hey, look at yourself.”

13:41  Dale:  So with what you’re describing, one might feel like it’s kind of you were a permissive parent, but you definitely weren’t. You weren’t letting me just get away with being a mean sibling or hitting my brother. It’s not like if I hit my brother, I just got away with it. So how do you balance that?

14:01  Leslie:  I’m so glad you asked that question. Because actually, when I’ve done my parenting classes, when I work with people, sometimes that is the perception that can come up. So let me clarify that. So the idea is that validating, or understanding, where you’re coming from or giving you time and space does not mean…it’s not exclusive of setting limits. Because in our society, we have a lot of parents who go with the setting limits, punishment, punishment, punishment. So I wanted to take a different approach. For example, if something was going on, instead of coming in with the I’m sorry, I would come in with: there is a problem here. Instead of saying, “What did you just do to your brother?” Because that is what a lot of parents do. You hit your brother or you say something mean…and we go right at one of the parties, we go right to, “Dale, what did you do?” and it becomes a blaming situation.

15:02  Dale:  Yeah, it seems like more of the shame language versus just the naming it, like you’ve said.

15:07  Leslie:  So I come in strong. And I say there’s a problem here, what’s going on? There’s a problem with the two of you. And I would do a little conflict resolution, which just for the sake of time, I’m not going to get into right now. But I would do that process with you. Or sometimes I say, “You guys have lost the privilege of playing together.” And even though you may have been the one who hit your brother, I’m understanding that there’s a reason why you hit your brother. And I don’t know if it was because he teased you. I don’t know if it’s because something that he did, but I’m making an assumption that both of you have a part in it. And that’s a good lesson to teach. So then I would say, “You lose the privilege of playing together.” Do you remember me saying that a lot growing up? 

Dale:  Yeah. 

Leslie:  I think it’s a very important way of setting a limit and saying no, this behavior is not going to continue. I do want to say that it’s not about permissive parenting. It’s about respectful parenting and setting limits. And usually, I see parents go from one extreme to another. And I want to talk about holding both of those. It’s really important.

16:15  Dale:  Going back to apologizing, how did you get me to learn how to apologize? Because I was so resistant to it.

16:23  Leslie:  Yes, yes, it was very, very, very hard. So I think there are two main things. One is modeling. And the other is being creative. First, let me mention the modeling. The modeling was, you know…Dad and I are people who are comfortable when we make a mistake. So I would model apologizing to other people and apologizing to you kids. I think it’s actually really hard—a  lot of people can apologize to their peers, but it’s hard to apologize to children for some reason. And I think that’s because we think children should be the ones to apologize. And as we know, like any behavior, children model what we do—they imitate us all the time. That’s how they learn when they’re very, very little. So again, I just figured, Dad and I apologizing is going to have its payoff in the long term. And I often say parenting is a long term investment, that if Dad and I apologized, it would make a difference for you kids, as long as they saw it.

17:34  Dale:  Yeah. And I think it did. I think that might have been one of the greatest gifts you gave us as kids, and particularly me, I think, not forcing me to apologize and also modeling it, I think showed me what apologizing should look like, which is not this place of weakness, which is not something that you do if you’re in the submissive position, or if you’re in the weaker position. You modeled it in a way that was just about taking responsibility, but not in a way that was like flagellation or shaming. 

Honestly, as an adult, what it did—we were talking before about how I think most adults have negative associations with apologizing—I think what it did is it gave me a positive association with it because I hated making mistakes. And so when I misbehaved, that was a version of a mistake in my head. And I felt the shame just internally from myself. And apologizing, once I became comfortable with it, actually gave me a way to feel relief from that mistake. And you started it early on, because again, you didn’t associate apologizing with negativity. If anything, it was this reconnection, because when you as the parent would apologize, it immediately was just this kind of moment of bonding and moment of  de-escalation of emotions. And it was just all positive things. 

And so as an adult, I grew up and now think, “Oh, yeah, apologizing just means I get to, if anything, alleviate some of that shame, I get to repair the relationship. It feels like a win-win-win.” And so in that way, you gave me like the most powerful tool to have in interpersonal relationships. And I feel like so many people miss out on that because of the misunderstanding around how apology should be used with kids.

19:50  Leslie:  Absolutely. You just said something that I think is really important, which is when you were little it was just too much for you— could see that. And as I’ve said in earlier episodes, you had difficulty giving yourself permission to make a mistake. There’s my, “Dale, can you give yourself permission to make a mistake?” And the children that have difficulty making a mistake are going to have difficulty apologizing. 

So not everyone will have difficulty. There are people pleasers. Some of our children are people pleasers. And they are going to say “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” So you end up having some children or adults who grow up and they just apologize for just breathing, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” You know, you open the door, and they say, “I’m sorry.” So there’s one extreme—people who over-apologize. And the other extreme of people who are afraid to apologize because they think it’s a weakness. And you just said it so beautifully, that it gave you the ability to repair and be responsible for a mistake you made. 

When you were little. It was too painful for you. It was too big for you. You were feeling too many emotions. And that’s why some children don’t apologize. And when they don’t apologize, you know what they do? They blame. Parents come to me and say, wow, I’ve got a sociopathic child. They just blame everybody for everyone. And it’s like, “No, no, your child is not a monster, your child is not sociopathic, they are just having difficulty, recognizing that they’ve made a mistake and being okay with that.” So that gets us back to feeling safe enough to make a mistake, which is what you grew into. So now I want to ask you, what were the things that you did—-because you were brilliant—what did you do to start apologizing? Do you remember your journey?

21:42  Dale:  Yeah. Like you said, in the beginning, it felt near impossible. And blaming, I do remember doing that, that felt like the only way to alleviate the shame was to try to logically think myself, or put blame on somewhere else. But the beginning of the journey with apologizing started with I think the letters…

Leslie:  Yes!

Dale:  …is that I couldn’t do it, face-to-face. My emotions were too high then or just just being in front of the person—there was too much shame. And so I think early on it was letter writing. It was, I’d go back into my room, all full of shame. But then I would write the letter, feel better, and give it to whoever—to you or Dad, to Carrie, Travis…yeah, my siblings.

22:38  Leslie:  And guess what? Dad found one of his letters. And I’ve got it here in person on this yellow piece of paper with your pencil handwriting. So I did send you a picture of it. Would you be willing to read it?

22:53  Dale:  All right, let’s take a look at this…and I think because our listeners can’t see this… There’s no date on the page, but I think based on the handwriting and just the style of writing, I’m thinking this was sometime around middle school. So still when I was pretty young…

23:15  Leslie:  Pretty young, but for you to start taking responsibility, it’s pretty amazing happening in middle school. So yeah, go ahead. [Laughter]

23:21  Dale:  All right, here’s the letter. “Dear Dad, When you came to talk to me, just now, I didn’t say much because I was crying. I’m not really sure. At first before you came in my tears were from being mad at you. But your words made me realize that I love you too much to really be mad at you. I admire you for coming to apologize, but you shouldn’t be the only one apologizing. You said you weren’t the best dad. That’s not true at all. Because you came to talk, you are the best dad. And believe it or not, your apology seems so sincere that when you said I wish I could erase it all I wanted to say it’s already long gone out of my mind. And I really mean that. When you read this note, you don’t have to get up. I just want to let you know how I feel. I love you so much. And I’m sorry.”

24:17  Leslie:  Wow. It’s so amazing. I just want to cry because that was years in the making and the journey continued. I mean, now you don’t need someone to come to you first but what an amazing thing that you were able to give Dad this letter. And you’re exactly right: doing it face-to-face was too difficult for you at that time. Because you put it on his pillow. That’s why it says, “You don’t have to get up,” because you put it on his pillow so that you didn’t, you know, you gave him permission to not come in and do the face-to-face thing. It was hard to do face-to-face apologies.

24:58  Dale:  Yeah, but it had to start somewhere. And I mean, these are the kind of letters that helped. And I know, this letter, reading it, almost seems too perfect or fake or something. But, I mean, the proof is here. I don’t remember the journey at this age, but you guys modeling it clearly had an impact. Because, again, if you could get this letter out of me, because I remember what I was like, as a kid not wanting to apologize, so if you could get this out of me, by really just modeling it and showing that it was really just a way to repair and again, just alleviate the shame, like…the apologies made me feel better. And as a kid, I was just this bundle of shame and feeling bad and anger and all of that. And so this gave me an outlet, actually,

25:57  Leslie:  It did. What I say is parenting…sometimes we need to be creative, the most direct approach may not always be the best approach in the sense of: it may not work. So again, going back to, “Dale, say you’re sorry,” or something like that…it’s very direct, it could work plenty of times, no problem with it, it might really be effective sometimes, because I could model just saying “I’m sorry” to someone. And at the same time when it doesn’t work for your child, like it didn’t work for you, Dale, then the idea is finding creative ways. We could see that you were willing to write. And so we did that letter writing back and forth. I’ve got to  keep looking because I’ve got plenty of letters as well, which I think you would appreciate.

26:45  Dale:  Yeah, there’s probably an archive somewhere. [Laughter]

[Music: Forest of Dreams by Olexy ]

Dale:  I wanted to also bring up an important part of apologizing, that apologies without a behavior change lose meaning over time. So when somebody just apologizes and apologizes, but you’re never seeing any change in behavior, then it loses its meaning. And with a lot of these behaviors that you talk about with parenting, and that I had to learn as a kid, these behaviors are more kind of long term, because a lot of my outbursts and stuff would come from anxiety. And anxiety is not just a quick behavior to change. 

But I do want to emphasize that the behavior did have to change a little bit. And I know this was an important dynamic between me and my twin sister, Carrie. Because when I was younger, I would just snap at her. I would snap at her, I would…my anxiety would come out at her in anger. I’m sure the amount of times that we would be driving as teenagers and she would hit a pothole or driving a way I thought was wrong or dangerous. And I would just snap at her. 

28:19  Leslie:  Yes, I was just going to say I remember those situations, where you would do that. And what you’re talking about here is helping a person understand what led to the problem behavior. In dialectic behavior therapy, we do something called a chain analysis. It’s an analysis of the behaviors that lead up to the problem behavior. So if you were mean, if you threw something, whatever you’re trying to get the person to apologize for; if I helped you, as a child, understand what led to that problem behavior, that’s a really important way of also dealing with that behavior and not letting them get away with it. My whole goal is to get you to change the behavior by 1) becoming aware of it, and 2) helping you see what else you could do to get off that path of behavior.

29:14  Dale:  I think doing those two things in conjunction, which was the modeling the apologies, as well as what you were saying before, which is the naming what was going on for me. Because it wasn’t that I had necessarily an anger issue. I had an anxiety issue. And it would come out in the form of anger. So you wouldn’t point out my anger or make me demand an apology from anger. You would point out my anxiety and, and so with the driving example, early on, it was just the yelling at her. And then it started maybe, I don’t know, in my early 20s, It progressed to maybe doing that initial snapping at her and then 30 minutes later or so apologizing. And that continued to progress until it was more of the like, well-rounded moment and apology which included that recognition of what was behind it, which was my anxiety. 

So it morphed into maybe me kind of snapping at her; and then very quickly, I would realize, that’s my anxiety again, so I’d be able to apologize even quicker. And then I’d also be able to name it for her and I’d go, “Hey, that was…” And again, this came much later, this was probably in my later 20s, that just started happening, that I would start naming it to her even and saying, “Hey, this has nothing actually to do with your driving” or whatever it is, “This was because my anxiety and I got anxious.” 

It was funny as last night, because I knew we were recording today, I called Carrie, to kind of just, you know, fact-check and make sure that my memory of our journey and me learning to apologize to her was accurate. And it’s funny, because that was one of the things that she noted as being the most important and significant change to how I would apologize; which included that awareness of not only what was underneath it all, but also how it impacted her. And that goes back to what you said, which, in the three-step apology, this was step two, which is stating the impact that your emotion or your behavior had on somebody else. And she literally, almost verbatim, said that second step of, “You started to name the impact that your anxiety or whatever had on me.” And she said that was one of the most profound additions to my apologies.

32:03  Leslie:  Yeah, I mean, I think the idea that I was doing the modeling, I was giving you space, I was understanding that you had anxiety, and we needed to approach it from a different way. It’s so amazing, the relationship between parenting, how parenting informed my therapy, and how therapy informed my parenting. It was so amazing that as you progressed, as you said, your journey of learning to apologize, I also developed the ability to name what we were doing so that I could teach it to other people. 

And of course, there’s nothing new under the sun, I would love to give credit for…this was when I was training and learning about forgiveness work. And this three-step apology is a, what I call a parenting version of what Janis Abrahms Spring developed working with couples who have had affairs, and she developed an entire forgiveness protocol. And I morphed it into what I knew and just borrowed some of what she has done. Because when something works, it works. And to give parents the idea that there’s this three-step apology gives them something very tangible to work with. It’s a progression—we’re all learning. 

And keep doing your apologies, because it just shows that you are this responsible human being. And I really, so respect how you have grown. And it was scary. It was really scary as a parent. I’m going to just remind everybody that I looked and said, “Oh my god, I have a daughter that’s going to grow up and never be able to apologize.” But that was a part of me. And the other part of me was having faith that what I was doing was going to work. And here you are.

34:01  Dale:  And here I am. And I mean, the proof is in the pudding. I wish people could see me as a kid because I was a menace. I was blaming, I was angry, I did the opposite of apologizing, I just…And again you gave me this gift that helped alleviate so much of that so that I can actually have beautiful friendships in my life, beautiful relationships in my life, good relationships with my siblings, with you guys. I don’t think my relationship with Carrie would be as close if I never learned to apologize. I’m pretty sure I would have created a rift that would have only grown. And so you’re telling parents, “Just believe it will make a difference.” Because it will. It won’t do it overnight. But it will.

34:54  Leslie:  I just want to say that it’s really important for us to remember that we all make mistakes And I know, we all know, that on a logical level, but in order to feel it, it means you’re willing to be vulnerable and willing to accept that our mistakes are opportunities for us to repair relationships, to connect. It’s so powerful that once you get going, it’s really an amazing thing. And it’s not about over-apologizing. It’s not about under-apologizing. It’s about connecting to people when we make mistakes, which we all do. This was great. Thank you so much for sharing.

35:39  Dale:  Of course—always fun to dredge up the past, literally, I mean, with this letter, we went to the archives for one. Thanks, Mom. 

Leslie: Bye, sweetie.

[Music: Fresh Air by Olexy]

35:57  Leslie:  Thank you so much to Dale for taking the time to join me. And thank you all for joining us. I’m so grateful that Dale is willing to be open and vulnerable with me. Vulnerability is a key aspect of apologizing, and your best bet for building healthy relationships. I hope you come away from today’s episode with a greater understanding of why some adults might over-apologize, and some adults refuse to apologize. 

Parents’ attempts to get their children to say, “I’m sorry,” are actually counterproductive. Try turning your perspective upside down. Remember, it starts with you modeling the apology. Remember to help your child feel safe when they make mistakes. Give them space and time. And remember that taking responsibility and apologizing when you make mistakes is a strength and not a weakness. Oh, and by the way, remember that the show notes are full of more resources, including a reading list  of some of the books that we mentioned in today’s episode. 

[Music: The Wilds Beyond by L-Ray Music]

Coming up next week, we meet Mary whose four year old son is struggling with sleep after a death in the family. A lot of what we talk about will be helpful for anyone struggling with bedtime. Subscribe to Is My Child A Monster? wherever you get your podcasts, so you don’t miss an episode. And if you like what you hear, please rate and review on Apple podcasts. And be sure to tell your friends. You can find a full transcript of this episode, resources, or apply to be a guest on Season 2 by visiting ismychildamonster.com. This episode was produced by Alletta Cooper, Dale Rubury, and me. Our theme music is by L-Ray Music. I’m Leslie Cohen-Rubury. Thanks so much for listening. And remember, children can become responsible adults who know how to apologize when given the space to make mistakes.

[Music: The Wilds Beyond by L-Ray Music]

Join us next week for my final session with Kathryn, where we explore how to de-escalate conversations when everybody’s emotions are running high. So subscribe to Is My Child a Monster? wherever you get your podcasts and please rate and review. This episode of Is My Child A Monster? was produced by Alletta Cooper, Dale Rubury, and me. Our theme music is by L-Ray Music. You can find a full transcript of this episode, resources, and sign up for my newsletter by visiting ismychildamonster.com. I’m Leslie Cohen-Rubury. Thanks so much for listening. And this week, I leave you with a challenge: Find an opportunity to apologize to your child for your part in a conflict. You may be pleasantly surprised at the response you get from your child.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai edited by Eric Rubury

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