5 Tips for Apologizing to Your Child


Apology 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 | Featured image courtesy of Flickr.


160x160 facebook profile pic 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!   


14 Responses to “5 Tips for Apologizing to Your Child”

  1. This is a wonderful post, that I think can also be used for apologies to anyone, not just children. Thankfully, my son is only 21 months old, so I haven’t had to apologize to him for much other than “sorry you can’t have that cookie,” but when the time comes, these are wonderful things to practice!

  2. cindy b says:

    These are some great tips! Gonna share with my sisters who both have children who are getting old enough to understand now! Thanks for sharing!

  3. These are super great. Thanks for sharing. It’s so hard when you see parents who never apologize or who always let the kids manipulate but getting the balance is tough these are definitely helpful guidelines.

  4. Mandi says:

    I needed this – needed to be reminded that I should apologize for my actions and not just a “Hey I’m sorry that we didn’t agree” or something. Great tips for all parents!

  5. Carly says:

    Love this advice. It’s good to teach kids to apologize by our example of apologizing when we do something wrong.

  6. What a great post. Building a good relationship with your children with mutual respect for one another is so important in their development. :)

  7. andi says:

    for those of us who never got that as children – thank you….

  8. I love this! I think it’s important to apologize to your children as an example of what they should do and to keep a good relationship with them. I find myself already apologizing for getting angry with my two year old. And they are so forgiving! Pinning this!

  9. Erinn S says:

    Letting go is a good one. Goes along with picking your battles! I do stop and pick my battles with my kids. remember myself at their age!

  10. This is great, I don’t have kids. But I do have lots of nieces and nephews:) I’ll have to send a link to this to my sisters, it’s great advice! Thanks!

  11. Meagan says:

    My son is only 2.5 but I’ve definitely screwed up along the way and felt awful and apologized.

  12. Krystal says:

    Very nice post. My son is just a toddler, but I’ve already felt the need to apologize a few times to him. Great list.

  13. Tish says:

    Just did this last week, and it’s good to see the approach I used validated. Guess maybe I have some idea what I’m doing after all. ;)

  14. Tarana says:

    I think it’s very important to avoid the ‘but’. Some good tips here, thanks for sharing them!

Leave a Reply

Web Statistics