As a follow-up question, let us suppose that children as young as 10-years-old have learned about forgiveness and want to practice it.  How can they go about forgiving a parent if that parent keeps offending?

This will depend on the severity of the injustice.  If there is abuse, it would be my hope that this will be discovered by professionals in the child’s school.  Such abuse often leads to observable effects in children such as inattention during schoolwork, aggressive acting out in school, poor grades, and anger or depressive mood.  The child needs justice along with forgiving.  The forgiving in this case likely would begin only after the child is in a safe place.  If the injustice is not so severe as to require a solution from outside the home, the child could start forgiving by: a) acknowledging anger.  This can be difficult because of loyalty to the parent; and b) seeing the inherent worth in people in general and then applying it to the parent.

Many children are very good at exclaiming: “That’s not fair” and if a child is schooled in the moral virtue of forgiveness, which includes schooling in fair treatment, this kind of proclamation, spoken from a forgiving heart, may aid parents in thinking through their own behavior.  This kind of pattern is not easy to solve and so, again, I recommend forgiveness education in schools to equip children with the tools for overcoming disappointments and anger caused by truly unfair treatment against them.

For additional information: Teaching Kids About Forgiveness.

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