Apologizing to your kids requires courage and humility, and shows them the importance of seeking and giving forgiveness.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16
Is it hard for you to apologize to your children? Do you find it difficult to admit to them when you have done something wrong?
When they are little, it may not be so hard. Somehow, looking a 4-year-old in the eye and telling him you are sorry for being grumpy or for missing his soccer game may not seem like a tough task.
When our kids are little, it’s almost as if our mistakes don’t really matter to them. At that stage of their lives, we are still their superheroes. And because children are so forgiving, they would forgive and love us even if we didn’t apologize. The apologizing benefits the parent more than the child. It humbles us and gives us a chance to practice a habit that becomes harder and harder the older they get.
It’s one thing to bend down and look a 7-yr-old in the eyes to say “I’m sorry;” quite another to stand eye-to-eye with a 16-year-old and apologize. And, although the habit of apologizing will never become so habitual that it’s easy, it can grow to be so habitual that it becomes the obvious right thing to do.
What keeps me from apologizing anyway?
Am I afraid my kids will see I am not perfect? Good grief, they already know that! Might as well ‘fess up and let them see a healthy example of how to deal with mistakes.
My dad was a wonderful, loving man. But the only time I can remember him saying he was sorry was when he yelled at me for something that I did by accident. Did it scar me? No. Did it make me resent him? Never. But I rarely saw the vulnerable side of him that admitted to mistakes and because of that there were many times when he seemed emotionally distant.
That makes me sad. I wonder if I would have known him on a deeper level if he’d apologized a little more. I don’t want to make that same mistake.
As parents, let’s determine not to miss opportunities to be real, open, and to connect with our kids.
Guidelines for Apologizing
- It’s okay to wait until you calm down to say you’re sorry.
- Bite the bullet and be the first one to apologize.
- Take responsibility for your wrong actions without blaming someone or something else.
- Don’t expect your apology to always be welcomed with open arms.
- Give your child time and space to accept your words.
- Show unconditional love even if they don’t accept your apology.
- Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. You don’t have to resolve the entire problem before bedtime; but don’t go to bed with anger and resentment harboring inside of you.
Your kids deserve an apology when you’ve done something wrong. It will not diminish their respect for you, or lessen your position of authority. Admitting your faults allows your kids to see your dependence and need for God’s love and forgiveness, a vivid lesson they need to see and understand for themselves.
Do you feel stuck in a rut, and overwhelmed by the demands of parenting?
Not to mention wondering if you are doing the right things to help your children grow up to love and honor God?
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