My 10-year-old has just started doing this--but also refuses to admit he even did anything wrong. Today, I did exactly the wrong thing mentioned in this article: told him to come out of his room when he could take responsibility and apologize. His younger brother had done so (they were fighting), so why can't he? He insists people are lying, he did nothing wrong... slowly leaks half truths and then admits he lied. I started out slow and nice. Isn't this exhausting? Is it that hard to say sorry? Think how you feel when someone doesn't say sorry (gave a specific situation) and when they do. Which would you rather be like? Nothing. I will try this three-pronged approach.

I just want to add that as a parent, though, I disagree with your sweeping judgment that parents demand apologies because they don't want to do the work. I have demanded it because in adult life, I feel, you need to know how to say sorry. You can't get away with just acting nicer and hoping that's good enough. You need to provide an opportunity for the aggrieved person to forgive that specific act. I love the idea of reparations. But that feels to me a bit the wrongdoer the opportunity to sweep it under the rug and avoid the awkward conversation of acknowledging what they did. The other person can still forgive them, but also feel like they've given up: "well, my brother has been so nice the rest of the day, I should just let it go." Are they to assume that he knows how he made them feel and feels remorse? Or just decide it's not worth it and let it go? That sounds like a recipe for resentment to me. And what if they wanted to say something, such as "When you did XX I felt very XX and I want you to know that." Now, the onus is on the aggrieved to bring up the issue, and I don't think that's fair. I guess in my opinion, an apology is necessary.

What I'm doing is obviously not right, which is why I'm researching in the first place. But I'd love to hear more about why it's okay for a kid not to learn that if you feel remorse, you must apologize. Thanks.