Great Parents Apologize
In a household with young children, there are likely to be insults, injuries, accidents, shouts and mistakes. Kids are spirited, energetic, self-centered and impulsive. As adults, we may like to think we are immune to such behavior, but it’s just not true. After a long day at work or a busy day tending the kids and running a household, we can easily say things we might regret. When a child doesn’t follow directions or forgets the family rules for the 3rd time in 5 minutes, it can be terribly frustrating for any parent. It is for these moments and the reactions that follow; that apologies are made.
Adults apologizing to children can feel uncomfortable or wrong somehow. Maybe like admitting a weakness when we’re supposed to be the authority figures.
What if admitting when we’ve lost our cool doesn’t make us weak but instead teaches our children what to do when they make mistakes? Dr. Kate Roberts of Savvy Parenting writes, “When parents apologize they are instilling a value system and a belief that it’s okay to be human and therefore imperfect. They are role modeling accountability. They are demonstrating that taking action to accept responsibility after a mistake is more important than the mistake itself.”
In my home, a sincere apology and a gentle high five or hug go a loooong way to improving the mood of our whole household. Ephesians 4:22 reminds us to forgive, just as God has forgiven us. In the same way that God bestows his grace upon us; freely and completely, we must strive to model both repentance and forgiveness for our kids. Shouting a grumpy “sorry” while running from the room after injuring a sibling is not the type of apology we want for our kids. In the same way, if we yell or speak in a manner we regret, we must stop what we’re doing, get down to eye level and really apologize to our children.
Great parents are not perfect parents. Great parents admit their mistakes and apologize. Children learn to apologize by watching their parents say “I’m sorry.”
Jennifer Jacoby, WDS Mom and Assistant Teacher