Apologizing to your kids-What it teaches them
Do you hesitate to apologize to your kids? I have no problem admitting to my kids when I’ve made an error. OK, so this statement may need a few qualifications but in general, Mama’s & Papa’s, it’s okay to say sorry to your kids.
Qualifying that statement
We are the parents. It’s our job to lay foundation and guidelines for the running of our homes, and the raising of our children. There are tons of rules that we lay down that our kids won’t like. However, that doesn’t mean that we should be apologizing or over-turning what we’ve determined to be the law of the land. For example:
Kid: “Mom, I really wanted dessert and you’re making me sad because you didn’t give it to me”
Mom: “You know that if you don’t finish dinner, you don’t get dessert”
See, simple, although I may add a bit more sarcasm in real life! Rules are rules and that’s that! Okay, well most of the time… What I’m referring to here, is when we as parents act like normal human beings, and loose our cool, resulting in the need to apologize.
That dreaded day
I have a sore memory of a day one summer when I took the kids out to a water park. My first mistake was that I tried to cram way too many activities into that day. Needless to say it was overwhelming and things weren’t going a planned. The kids were so excited they could hardly contain themselves. They started running, and my son fell. He fell hard! I mean completely wiped out! At that point I was already boiling over with frustrations from earlier in the day, my response was to order everyone to the car and leave. After we got in the car, I began to shout about this and that, honestly, I don’t even remember what I said. I just remember I blew it. I didn’t respond kindly, with compassion, or in a way that was pleasing to anyone.
Stop pushing it away
For the next few days I pushed the memory aside with excuses that was merely an attempt to make me feel better about how I acted. Then finally I caved, instead of pushing this memory away any longer, I sat in it. I sat in it because after all this time it was still affecting me and I actually wanted to wrestle with it. So I did. I sat and thought about my reaction to the situation.
Why I HAD to apologize
By finally dealing with this I was forced to fully recognize and come to grips with a couple things.
- I can’t remember many details of that day, but what I do remember is the look on my sons face. The look of pain not only because he fell, but because I didn’t take the time to comfort him. I remember how insensitive I was. Even now I cry about it because I can never go back to that day and correct my wrongs. It’s a lost opportunity.
- Another reason is because it was wrong to let outside influences determine the way I reacted towards my kids, who honestly did nothing wrong.
- Sadly another realization I learned from this is that I gave my son a memory that neither of us wanted to have. I think this is why the memory of that day never left me. It’s been implanted, permanent, and can’t be erased just because I’m sorry. In a way, I thank God for that. I’ll remember this every time my flesh rises up and wants to react before pausing.
What the apology taught us all
To some, this issue may seems like small potatoes, ok, so you had a moment, lost your cool, got frustrated, but I doubt Aden would agree. What we categorize as insignificant, can have an impact on our children. Being the mother of these children is one of the most important things I’ll do in my life, so II should treat it as such. After apologizing here’s what we learned:
- There’s no shame in admitting you’ve made a mistake. In fact it’s part of growing and maturing. Consider it an opportunity for growth.
- Making a mistake is a part of life, so we should learn to deal with it, no matter how old we are.
- Everyone’s feelings matter, no matter how small they are. We shouldn’t discount anyone’s feelings based any sort of criteria.
- Reacting in frustration is never OK and leads to regret. Ignoring that we’ve made an error will only prolong our responsibility to apologize.
Ultimately, apologizing to our kids is an open door for us to show them what humility looks like. At the same time, we’re giving them the opportunity to show grace and forgiveness, just as God shows towards us. It’s a perfect way to display our heavenly fathers continued love towards us when we ask Him for forgiveness.Apologizing to your kids allows them to show grace and forgiveness Click To Tweet
Going forward, I’ll remind myself that my short term choices may result in long term regret. And for you, I pray you’re able to see that apologizing doesn’t mean you’re showing weakness as a parent. It’s actually teaching your children maturity and how to take responsibility over their choices.
Is there something that keeps trying to creep back into your memory? Something that maybe you didn’t handled in a way that reflects grace? Maybe there’s a lesson your pushing away that needs to be learned.