In the world of social media it is easy to get caught up in this idea that basically every other mom is perfect. The truth is no mom is perfect, and while there are really amazing moms that you should take notes from. They have their faults too. The way we carry ourselves as mothers directly affects our children. They pick up what we say and do. That’s why the most beautiful gift you can give your child is to apologize to your child.
Really, Apologize to My Child?
Yes, apologize to your child. You might be thinking, why should I apologize to my child?
Do you ever get frustrated because your child dumped the whole soap bottle out? Played with the dirt in your houseplants? Smashed her brother’s poop in your driveway with her sandals? (All hypothetical of course)
Do you always respond in love and grace? I know I don’t. Sometimes I shout or throw an adult tantrum. It’s natural to be frustrated when our children do something they are not supposed to, but when we respond poorly we are unintentionally teaching them how to respond in frustrating situations. If our response is something we do not allow from our child we should not be pretending it’s okay for us to do.
Best case scenario we catch ourselves before we can lash out or act inappropriately. But when we don’t catch ourselves, we say sorry.
“Sorry, will you please forgive me?” will change your child’s life in a beautiful way.
It’s Not Easy Saying Sorry
As sinful humans we can be stubborn and want to say things like “she deserved it” or “he knew better than to do that” and turn the focus back on the child. The fact of the matter is that we are the parents, whether we like it or not we are in the teaching role not our children. As adults we need to be the one to make things right and lead the situation in a healthy direction.
Saying sorry does not come naturally, in our anger and frustration. An apology takes courage and humility to muster up. But the goodness that comes after apologizing is so beautiful. It helps to make the correction of your children less critical and more fruitful.
What to Avoid
When apologizing there are a few things you want to stay clear of. For instance adding “but” to your apology, when we say but we take away from our own sin and subtly shift the blame back to our kid. We must take responsibility for our own actions as teach our children to be responsible for theirs.
Avoid apologizing in frustration. Your child knows when you are being genuine and sometimes it is better to wait for things to cool down, than to say sorry half-heartedly. Children pick up on these things.
Try not to emphasize on what you did wrong, but what you could have done instead. For example “I’m really sorry for raising my voice at you, I should have used a kind voice to correct you. Will you please forgive me?” rather than “sorry for yelling at you I was really angry that you did that.” Although it does the trick it focuses on the negative which was the sin and the anger instead of focusing on the issue. We should not raise our voice when we are angry.
Figure out a routine for after you apologize and forgive one another. Our family likes to pray and finish with a hug and kiss. If you don’t pray you can find a different routine to set the tone back to a joyful one. You could try singing a song, do an activity with your child, or find a poem you like with the theme of love, family, or forgiveness.
Sometimes after a heated moment even after you have forgiven one another tension can linger. It’s important for us to break that tension right away so we can live into that forgiveness. Do what works best for your kid.
Put It Into Action
Apologizing to your child is the most beautiful gift you can ever give them. They will be so equipped for current and future relationships by learning from you example. So how do we do it again (asking for myself)?
- Realize you will never be the perfect mom, but you can always grow.
- Practice saying sorry for the wrong you have done.
- Focus on your problem first.
- Frame it positively
- Correct child if necessary
- Help child understand what they did wrong
- Forgive one another
- Closure (prayer, song, activity, or poem)