Kids aren’t the only ones learning how to say sorry—parents make mistakes, too. Learn why you should always apologize to your child.
Parents are not infallible. Many times we’ll wish we could retract harsh words or hasty actions. We’re angry with our kids, or we yank at our daughter’s arm a little too hard coercing her out of a tantrum.
But we can’t undo our mistakes. No way to rewind and change what we’ve done. Instead, we do the next best thing: We apologize.
On a recent article titled “Before You Get Mad at Your Kids, Read This:” SSBE reader Carla commented:
It’s also important to know that it’s okay to apologize to your child and explain why you reacted the way you did.
Why you should apologize to your child
I couldn’t agree more. We adults apologize to one another—we should extend the same gesture to our kids. Perhaps we fear losing our ground, likening an apology to forfeiting our authority. Or maybe we feel vulnerable admitting our mistakes. Or our pride holds us back.
#1: Apologizing shows kids that we make mistakes
I want my kids to learn that no one is perfect, even their parents. When they realize we make mistakes too, they’ll see they’re not always at fault. We’re not exempt from the same fallibility as they are.
We’re also just as bound to the consequences of our mistakes. And they can question something that an adult has said or done. Considering how much we want to protect our kids, it’s vital they know that adults can be wrong, too.
#2: Apologizing shows kids how to say sorry
Modeling the behavior we want to see is one of the best ways to teach. If we want our kids to learn how and when to apologize, we need to take that first step and do so ourselves. Parents apologizing makes more of an impression than forcing our kids to say sorry.
#3: Apologizing respects children
Kids are still fellow human beings deserving of the same respect we’d give anyone else. Apologizing reminds us that kids deserve an apology as much as any other person.
After all, we messed up. The next best thing to do is apologize. Whether the mistake was grand or a simple oversight (“Oops! I’m sorry I forgot to bring your toy.”), we value our kids and won’t brush aside their emotions.
#4: Apologizing humbles us
And apologizing reminds us of just how much we have to learn. We’re not these big bad head honchos of the family. We’re learning from our mistakes, too.
And we shouldn’t expect ourselves to solve every problem or perfect every craft. We guide and nurture, but we also make mistakes, sometimes to the people we mean to guide and nurture.
I’ve apologized to my kids. It doesn’t matter if they know understand my words or rely on my tone and body language. I’ve apologized for various reasons, from simple oversight to losing my temper.
And while apologizing can never undo the mistakes I had made, it’ll at least have shown my kids how sorry I felt.
Get more parenting tips:
- Dear Kids, Sometimes I’m a Horrible Mom to You
- 4 Things to Remember When You Get Angry at Your Child
- 3 Ways We Unintentionally Disrespect Our Kids
- I Am Officially One of “Those” Moms
Does apologizing come easily or difficult for you? What do you think about apologizing to your kids? Let us know in the comments below.