5 Tips for Apologizing to Your Child
Making mistakes as a parent is inevitable. It's important to be willing to admit when you're wrong and apologize to your children in those cases. Doing this teaches them a variety of things, but possibly the most important is that it's okay to make mistakes and also how to handle it when you do.
I usually immediately know when I've done something that will require an apology, because I feel it in my gut. I've sometimes wondered if it's better to apologize or just move on and pretend that nothing happened to avoid bringing more attention to the situation. But in the end, apologizing when you've made a mistake teaches your children some valuable lessons. Apologizing shows your children that you respect them as a person. It shows them you value their thoughts and feelings, and is an important step as you build a relationship with your child.
Apologizing is also important because it models appropriate behavior. Making mistakes is part of being human. As a role model for your child, you want them to realize that there is no shame in admitting that you've made a mistake. Children often have a hard time putting words with their emotions. By apologizing to your child you help give them words they can use to describe their own feelings and frustrations.
Five Tips for Apologizing to Your Child
1. Apologize for YOUR actions. Even though there are two sides to every story, you are only responsible for the part you had to play in the situation.
2. Be sincere. Look your child in the eye and don't give a half-hearted apology. Your child can tell if you're just saying the words and don't really mean them.
3. Don't use the word BUT. You'll be tempted. It's normal to want to excuse our own behavior by saying, "I'm sorry, but you..." Don't do it. The word "but" negates all the words that came before it.
4. Let it go. All you can do is apologize. You can't make your child forgive you. One apology is enough. More than that could lead to a situation where a child manipulates to get attention.
5. Offer forgiveness. Be gracious and open to any apology your child offers back. In any situation, there is usually fault on both sides of the issue. Show that you are proud of them for handling the situation in a positive way.
When you make a mistake and apologize to your child, you show them that you accept responsibility for your actions. You also teach them about the power of forgiveness. It reinforces to your child that you love them and that they deserve your respect, which in turn helps them to love and respect themselves. Apologies can bring amazing changes in the parent-child relationship and is definitely worth your effort.
Have you ever had to apologize to your child?
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici | freedigitalphotos.net. Featured image courtesy of Flickr.
Kimberly Job is an author, blogger, mother of ten, and founder of Sublime Reflection. The mission of her blog is to help you discover your true, authentic self —from the INSIDE out. She offers tools and support to learn to love yourself and make your life amazing!