Apologizing to Your Kids
On Halloween, I was so excited to dress my kids up and see how adorable they looked in their costumes. Our oldest gladly dawned his Mr. Incredible costume and was ready to head out the door. Our almost two year old was not quite to happy to oblidge. All I had to do is bring the costume near her and she screamed like I was pulling out her fingernails. Actually getting it on her brought forth a thirty minute temper tantrum complete with the gasping for breath dramatic effect. All of that made me angry. Unrightly so, but I was mad. I had longed to see my cute little girl all dressed up in her sweet “girly” outfit and she wanting nothing to do with it. I finally gave up trying to convince her and fussed at her. A few minutes later I realized how selfish I had been. I was trying to force something on her that obviously made her unhappy and my response to it was completely inappropriate. I got down on the floor, put her in my lap, cried and told her I was sorry. She gave me a kiss, wanted to put on her shoes (to match her “normal” clothes), and we went on our way.
Many people would be shocked at the fact that I apologized to my toddler. But why not? Is she not a person too? Did I not behave in a way that was wrong and hurtful? It frustrates me to hear parents say “I am the parent, I have the right” without taking their child’s feelings into consideration. Not to mention, children learn by example. We often times try to force our kids to apologize when they do something wrong to us or another child… even if they don’t mean it. By allowing ourselves to show that we are not perfect and that we mess up too, we are allowing our children to accept that they don’t always have to be perfect, but that they should be aware of how their actions affect others.
Another thing that was recently brought to my attention about apologizing to our kids is that it shows our children that we are all sinful and are all in need of a Savior. My friend Ashley makes a practice of asking for her children’s forgiveness and then prays for her own forgiveness with her children. When she told me about this, I thought it was a beautiful way to share your faith with your children.
All that being said, it’s easy to ask forgiveness when you step on a toe, accidentally throw out a toy, or forget a birthday party, but asking forgiveness when you were acting selfish or even if you were just plain cranky is a lot more difficult, but no less needed. Your children will learn to respect you and appreciate your honesty and they will learn how to respond to their own behaviors.
Do you apologize to your children? What specific way do you do it?
Photo Courtesy of deeleea