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Modern Parenthood

Why did Anne Hathaway apologize? And is there a lesson for your kids here?

Anne Hathaway apologized after she wore a different dress to the Academy Awards than the one she had planned on. But can you blame her? Our kids are told to say sorry so much they, like Anne Hathaway, apologize for things they shouldn't. 

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No doubt Hathaway is sorry because she’s been whipped in the social stocks for her dress being “a disappointment to fans.” It then spun out of control into the assumption the actress had “snubbed” designer friend Valentino, according to Yahoo News’ Oscar Blog.

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Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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Oh, and by the way, she won an Oscar that night, too.

There are times when we really must say "sorry," but only when we actually do something mean, nasty, unethical, abusive, bullying, or harmful to another.

A case in point is  a tweet by The Onion, a satirical paper, on Oscar night. According to the AP, The Onion posted a tweet calling the 9-year-old star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" a vulgar and offensive name on Twitter.

The Onion referred to Quvenzhané Wallis with an expletive intended to denigrate women, the AP reported. "It was crude and offensive — not to mention inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire, however biting," The Onion CEO Steve Hannah wrote on Facebook. "No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire. Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry."

At least The Onion got the apology right, whereas Dov Hikind, a New York state assemblyman, apologized for wearing blackface to a Purim party at his house after at first defending it, the AP reported.

He defended it with rationalizations worthy of a child forced by parental pressure (in this case it was the public and media being the parents) to say “sorry” to someone when he clearly feels put out by having to make the gesture.

Last night’s Daily Show had Jon Stewart running clips of Hikind’s irritated scowl as he tried to rationalize away his choice as something “everybody does” when they dress up for the Jewish holiday. Stewart noted people are intended to dress up as Biblical figures.


The one thing that is hardest for us to handle as parents may be the times we owe our kids an apology. I found a great guide for parents on how and when to say “sorry” to your child here.

It tells you to try and see your action from the child’s point of view and imagine how your child felt when you said something that may have hurt their feelings. After all, a really good apology is about the other person and how we make them feel.


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