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Apologizing to Your Kids

sorry hugs 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

10 Responses to Apologizing to Your Kids

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Katie
    November 4, 2009 @ 6:50 am

    I apologize to my two year old. I’ll get down to her eye level and say something like “I’m sorry that I got frustrated with you, it wasn’t your fault.” Then I’ll give her a hug. Obviously I try not to get that point, but it happens sometimes.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    November 4, 2009 @ 11:53 am

    I agree. I get down to my daughters eye level and apologize , then tell how I was wrong and I love her. It is so important that our children see this, not only for the respect we are showing them but this is effect them later on in life as well.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Dawn
    November 4, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

    We apologize to our kids when it is warranted. We tell them what we did wrong and say, “Will you forgive me?” This is what we ask our kids to do when they hurt one another, so we’re just keeping it consistent.

  • Gravatar November 4, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

    I apologize to my kids too. Same reason. They’re human, they deserve it when I’ve done something wrong to them.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by jenstate
    November 5, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

    On many occasions I have apologized to my children. I have even given myself a time out. When I screw up, I saw I screw up :)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by jenstate
    November 5, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

    Should have said, I say I screw up. Sorry!

  • Gravatar November 6, 2009 @ 4:57 am

    Apologizing is just like saying you love them. We make mistakes and kids too. Make an apology from the bottom of your heart so that they will feel the sincerity of your apology. When I apologize I give my daughter a tight hug and a kiss.c”.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    November 13, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

    Agreed.
    And don’t we all hope they’re learning by our example? ;)

  • Comment by Christy
    November 13, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

    Thanks for all your responses ladies! Amy, I wondered where you had been. Hope all is well! :-)

    And Jen… totally… I absolutely tell my kids “mommy wasn’t being nice” or “mommy shouldn’t have yelled at you”. And taking time outs to compose yourself is always a great idea!!!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    November 13, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

    All is well. I’ve only been absent from the site because I’ve been too busy with Christmas portrait sessions… :)

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