Suppose that I do see the two children arguing and I do sense what you call emotional pain because of injustice. I then step in to encourage forgiveness (after a period of anger that is appropriate to the children and the situation). What should I do? I so often hear parents say to the one who acted unfairly, “Say you’re sorry.” The parent then says to the other, “What do you say?” hoping for something like, “It is ok. I forgive you.” This seems a bit superficial to me. What else would you suggest?

I would suggest trying to get the one who did the injuring to see the pain in the other.  Try to get the child to step inside the hurt child’s shoes to understand the pain inside.  I further would try to get the injured child, once he or she has settled down from the pain and anger, to see the injuring child with a wider-angle lens.  You have to be careful not to suggest excusing of the hurtful behavior.  The point is to see the humanity in the other, to see that he or she has strong points.  This is a first step in forgiving.

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