Saying sorry can be hard. It is difficult admitting that you are wrong for an action or statement. Saying sorry to your kids can be even more problematic.
Read on to learn about a specific incident where I found myself needing to say sorry to one of my boys-and how it helped our parent-child relationship grow!
It was a typical Spring Saturday morning. Coach had the boys out early, doing yard work and playing random sports games. I was inside,finishing blog tasks and small chores.
The boys, in their usual boisterous manner, came barreling through the door. “Mom, what are our plans today? Dad wants to know! Consulting our family dry erase calendar/command center, I relished in the blank space-a rare Saturday where we had no obligations outside of home.
Boys and mom bounced off in glee, eager to seek out pleasing activities. As soon as we settled into a few of our favorite pastimes (reading for me, Legos for boys), my phone rang. With a sense of dread, I took the call.
“Hey, Amy! Where is Captain?”, asked the local soccer referee assignor. Gulp! My stomach dropped.
I had blanked. I had totally screwed up. I forgot to write down one of our family member’s obligations. (This was not the first time!)
Yeah, this self-described planner girl forgot to write down this important referee assignment for Captain!
I will be the first one to admit that I am not perfect. I make mistakes pretty much on the hour.
But, planning is my thing. Lists are part of my survival as a busy WAHM homeschool mom of 5 boys. Unfortunately, I had a false sense of security in being a well-planned gal.
Captain needed to be at the fields A.S.A.P. He is my boy that needs time to mentally and physically prepare for an outing. Let’s just say that he was not very pleased with having Coach dash him off for his first ref experience in months.
I had some time to myself since Coach took all the boys with him. Stunned at my negligence, I cried.
I understand that it was an easy mistake and not life-or-death. I know that I was being hard on myself. But, I felt like I let my son-and myself-down.
You see, I have been very busy being a homeschool mom with 2 blogs. Lately, I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends. I enjoy every second of all the activities. But, I feel guilty and like I’m dropping the ball in several areas.
I let me accumulated guilt and frustration at not having enough hours in the day to finally release. After a good cry, I formulated my plan for saying sorry to my son.
Saying Sorry Is Hard!
No matter what their age, your kids know that you are human. With your humanity, mistakes are a given-no one is perfect. (My boys often finish this sentence for me: “No one here on Earth is perfect. Only Jesus Christ, who we can only pray to and ask for His help.”)
As a parent, you expect your children to say they are sorry. When they hurt another or misuse their words, an apology is due. You want your kids to be decent human beings who can interact successfully in our world.
You may enforce a time-out period, giving them time to think about their actions. You lead them through appropriate responses and consequences. You remind them of your expectations for their behavior and word choices.
But, think about it. Are you completely doing your parenting job? Are you being a good role model, admitting your mistakes and taking actions to resolve?
Do you say you are sorry when you make a mistake? When you fail your kids in words or behaviors? Do you stop, look them in the eyes, and say “I was wrong. Please forgive me.””
Many parents do not. As adults, they believe that they are not required to apologize anymore. Saying sorry is optional. They were forced to do it as a kid and bask in the glory of having no one pushing them to say sorry.
But, think about it. What type of lesson is that teaching your children? “Do as I say, not as I do.” Is that effective parenting?
In my humble opinion, no. In fact, I believe it is the exact opposite of what you need to build your relationships with your kids.
Why Saying Sorry To Your Kids Can Help
- Builds trust: Instead of making it seem like you are perfect and sitting on a pedestal, apologizing humanizes you. Your kids will actually be more willing to say sorry themselves. They can trust that you understand.
- Demonstrates genuine care: Saying sorry shows your children that you love them. It shows that you never meant to upset them or do wrong.
- Deepens self-understanding: Recognizing and admitting that you are wrong leads to self-growth. You took the time to examine the situation, learn about yourself, and think about ways you can handle similar events in the future.
- Establishes connection: Your kids know what it feels like to do wrong. They can appreciate and relate to when you find yourself in a situation where you lost control of your words or behaviors.
- Gives them an appropriate role model: Children look to their parents as examples of what to do and what not to do. Observing your approach to an apology gives kids the chance to formulate their own way of saying sorry. When you are truly sorry for a misdeed and are not coerced into an apology, your children learn a valuable lesson.
- Opens discussion: You can use your need to apologize as a great opportunity to initiate a conversation with your children. Talk about times in your life when you needed to, or wished that you did, say sorry. Get out books for kids about saying sorry and talk about how characters dealt with situations.
I pray that these reasons for saying sorry to your kids are beneficial in helping with your parenting roles. How do you approach apologies in your home? What resources have you found helpful in teaching about saying sorry?