I remember a few years ago watching Supernanny, seeing how child expert Jo Frost would go into problem families and help parents deal with and solve their children’s difficult behaviour.
Now I’m bringing up my own child there are moments that remind me of a particular aspect of her programme, when she asks the young child (or asks the parent to ask the child) to apologize. I thought then, and I do now, that it’s a lot for a child to process when they’ve just learnt the basic of speech. You’re asking them first to acknowledge they’ve done something wrong, then understand they’re going to say a word that will somehow negate or forgive (quite religious!) what they’ve done. And then when they’ve understood that, they need to say a word which sounds completely different from the word “Apologize”… “Sorry!”

I think what makes children learn language and culture so quickly is that they’re expected to pick up so many subtleties at a great pace… necessity is not only the mother of invention but also of learning!

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