Quite a few parents have trouble apologizing to their kids when they are wrong; yet, it is essential that we teach kids that everyone, including parents, should be accountable if they made a mistake or said something hurtful. As parents, we try to teach our kids to apologize from the very beginning, as it is an extremely important life tool. However, if we cannot do it ourselves, then we are not modelling the behaviour we teach.
Some parents want to apologize but do not know how to or feel awkward letting their guard down to admit their faults. Here are some tips on how to apologize when you are in the wrong when it comes to a situation with your child. As a result, your child will respect that you can apologize too and will understand how truly important it is to make amends when things go awry.
Wait for a Cool Down Period
If you and your little one have had a clash of opinions, and if you said something hurtful or if you have made an obvious mistake, let there be a little bit of a cool off period before you approach your child to say sorry. If they are crying in anger and you approach them, your apology won’t be properly acknowledged. If you wait 15 or 20 minutes until after they calm down, the apology will work out better for the both of you.
Avoid Using the ‘But’ Statement
It is common to say, “I’m sorry, but.” Try to avoid throwing that in there as it isn’t a genuine apology if you say that. An apology has to be only about saying sorry for what you have done, not bringing up why you did it or mentioning you did it because they did this or that. Be direct and stay on the point of discussion.
It is very important to be sincere when you apologize to your child. If you are not, they will sense it. Kids are very smart in picking up just how genuine you are, so be absolutely sincere with your words and use eye contact.
Leave Distractions Out of the Picture
An apology will not be effective if you are texting or looking at a screen while you are trying to apologize to your child. Turn off everything and sit down with them in a quiet place away from noise or other family members. Sometimes it’s a good idea to go outdoors and spend time together. It can provide both of you with space to have a genuine discussion.
Say What You Are Sorry For
Make sure you state what you are apologizing for when you speak with your child. Statements such as, “I am sorry for saying those words”, or “I am sorry I embarrassed you like that” are a good start.
Validate Your Child’s Feelings
If your child feels angry or sad about what happened, let them be. Avoid telling them to stop crying or to ‘snap out of it’ if they feel like being sad for the rest of the day. Even if this happens after you have apologized.
Above all, everyone needs time to get over things, and it is no different for children. Time is everything when it comes to conflict with family members we love.
Do you have any tips on how to apologize to children? Feel free to share with us!