Apologizing to anyone is hard. No one likes to do it because no one likes to admit when they are wrong, but we have to do it, we have to take accountabilities for our actions. I remember my stepmom telling me once, “If you don’t like apologizing, stop doing things you’ll have to apologize for.”
We get taught at an early age to apologize, and we teach our children early to apologize too, but do you remember your parents apologizing to you? Yours probably did, but I don’t remember mine doing it. Imagine how different your relationship might have been if they had owned up to their mistakes, took accountability, and apologized for their behavior. Wow! That’s deep.
This is why we have to normalize apologizing to our children. I’ve done it before and will continue to do it because I’m human, and I know I’m not going to get this parenting thing right, but I’m trying my best.
I remember being exhausted, work was stressful, I had homework, and my daughter was in a season of not listening. I had to repeat simple requests multiple times, and this particular day my energy was low, and I was very irritated. I had asked her to take a bath and get ready for bed, she did not listen the first time, and I just snapped. I yelled at her in a way I’m not proud of, but I knew I was taking out my frustration on her. She cried, and I felt horrible afterward. The next day after our nighttime prayer, I apologized to her and explained how mommy was tired and stressed, but I didn’t yell at her for anything she had done wrong. I told her it wasn’t her fault that I was stressed and tired, but I just wanted her to know that I was sorry. She told me, “it’s okay mommy,” and then hugged me.
Psychology Today has an article about how and when to apologize to our child/children. They suggest apologizing easily and often. Just like everything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Make sure to acknowledge anything that they think is a big deal, although you might not think it is. We have to remember that our children have emotions, too, and have to learn to deal with them. Not acknowledging what they believe is a big deal will make them feel that their feelings are unimportant to us.
The article suggests that when apologizing, explain what happened, but don’t make excuses for your behavior. Like in my example, I told my daughter why I was stressed and tired and made sure she knew it wasn’t her fault.
Remember that apologizing shows accountability for your actions, and it takes courage to admit when you’re wrong and ask for forgiveness. Our children learn by example; they follow more what we do than what we say—what better example than our own actions. Yes, we will make mistakes along the way, but we can always try to make it better.
Let’s build a better future together by raising a better generation.
With Love, Heidy
Have you ever had to apologize to your child? Or is this something you’ve never thought about before?
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