Regret is a feeling that nobody likes, it makes us feel bad and it is usually caused by having said or done something that was not the right thing to do. It is also possible that other people’s feelings have been hurt and that also causes regret. We all like to avoid regret and many parents make sure that their children do not break the rules, so it is common for children to regret often. Although of course, if you want your child to know how to choose well in the future or do not commit actions that he may regret for not having thought well first, it is necessary to allow him to regret during childhood.
It is important to allow children to regret small decisions that could help them make better decisions in the future. Repentance is sometimes necessary, because it teaches us to learn from mistakes and that in the future, the same mistakes are not made.
The study of more than 325 children in Northern Ireland found that not all children can experience regret by the age of six. Those who repent can make better decisions in the future. The researchers asked the 6- and 7-year-olds to choose between two boxes. Regardless of which box they chose, they got a sticker and were asked to rate how happy or sad the decision made them. Then they were shown how choosing the other box would have provided them with more stickers, and again asked to rate their feelings.
According to the researchers, the children felt worse after learning what was in the non-chosen box and regretted it. The next day, all the children had the same option. Those who had experienced regret the day before were more likely to choose the box with the most stickers now, suggesting that when children remember regretting a choice, they are more likely to change their behaviors.