Saying Sorry To Your Kids

Why is saying sorry such a hard thing? Why do people struggle so much to apologize? But at the same time apologize constantly for things that are not important, you know, when they arrive sweaty or with their hair in a mess, when they think their clothes don’t match the occasion and so on. I don’t get it. People get even weirder when it comes to apologize to children.

Do you think it’s a power issue? Is it because when we apologize we admit to a mistake we’ve made and maybe to a weakness we have? Are we afraid that we make ourselves more vulnerable by admitting to making mistakes? Are we scared that people might not look at us the same way any longer? Why would we be afraid of all of that?

Making mistakes is totally normal. We are not robots, not programmed to work perfectly well. Besides that we all know that even the best technology can be slightly faulty too. We’re human beings are involved mistakes can happen. There is no such thing as being completely perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.

And still. If adults have to apologize to adults I think it’s often about the fear of suddenly finding yourself more vulnerable, maybe even on another power level. By having done something wrong, apologizing and in doing so admitting to the fact that we actually are not faultless, we might feel put on a lower level than the other person. We feel like we suddenly owe them something. Need to make up for what we did. It creates a feeling of being weaker. At least we might feel like that.

Now imagine we made a mistake towards a child.

In general adults see themselves above children. In a way we are as we are the ones responsible for them. But we are not. Kids are as important as we are and their feelings have the same value as feelings of adults have. We owe them the same amount of respect we should have for adults, maybe more.

So why is it so hard to apologize to children for a mistake made by an adult?

I’m not talking about stepping on a foot and apologizing for it. That is easy. I’m talking about making a mistake in the way you treat them. An obvious mistake. Like telling them off for something that has not been their fault at all. Why do we struggle to apologize in such a case? It’s because we have to admit to have made a mistake. And as an adult you don’t want to be the one who makes mistakes. You don’t want to be weak.

An apology to a child is admitting to a weakness and that makes it so hard.

But what a valid lesson for the child is it? By apologizing to your child or any child you also teach them that everyone can make mistakes. We teach them that when we make a mistake we need to be responsible and admit to it. We don’t just hide it. We teach them a lot about taking responsibility. We teach them a lot about being in charge of our actions. We teach them about making choices and hopefully about making the right choices.

I struggle with people who say that apologizing to kids is not necessary or even wrong. Why would it be. They are people too. People with feelings. Just because they are younger doesn’t make them less worth than a grown up.

Our kids learn the most from our actions. If we show them what responsibility means they will pick it up. If we show them that nobody is above apologizing it will be normal for them too.

Inspired by Grubbs ‘n Critters

36 thoughts on “Saying Sorry To Your Kids

  1. You did it again! Fantastic, Sandra! It is so true, we make mistakes and we know it when we look back at night. As you say an apology to a child teaches them something special. Also that we take them serious and that we are not only right because we are adults. I did it when I realized that, not so long ago. I called them all together and apologized for how I treated them when I was overwhelmed in the past. It was wonderfu land we all had tears in our eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My husband and I had a problem with this right after we were married. He had the opinion that you should never apologize to a child, even if you know that you’re wrong… which I definitely don’t agree with. Since my oldest and I are very close, we have a tendency to act more as friends or sisters most of the time. So apologizing when I’m wrong had never even been an issue before. I was wrong, so she needed to know that I knew that and that I as sorry. But he had grown up with this idea that it lessened your authority and led to disrespect if an adult apologized to admitted a wrong to a child. Luckily, it didn’t take long before he realized the flaw in his logic as well. Just because it was the way he had been treated as a child, didn’t make it right.

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  3. Beautiful post. I never had a problem making up, apologizing, or saying sorry to my kids. I had to be real with them. How could they know the power of apology to heal, mend, restore…unless I showed them my honest, heartfelt, apology when I screwed up?
    They were always so humbled when I would apologize, and comforted me in forgiving my mistakes. Such great kids. I hardly deserve them.

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  4. We usually always apologize if we go overboard with getting on them about something, or disappoint them in some way. I think it teaches them that we are human too, and respect them even though we are parent and they’re the child. Hopefully they’ll learn to treat others the same way as the go along.

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  5. I think the reason is shame…

    Human beings hate to be in shame…

    And to apologize, to REALLY apologize for something REALLY important, can be full of shame,
    and is being omitted as often as possible…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think that children deserve an honest explaination more than adults do. Adults understand that people make mistakes. A child is absolute pure love and trust. If something happened beyond their control, an I’m sorry followed by an explaination is very much needed and deserved. As you said being younger doesn’t make them less of less worth.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I agree, as a parent, we are role models, therefore apologize when needed. I have taught my kids that we can intentionally and unintentionally hurt a person. If our action is intentionally wrong, it’s good to apologize as soon as possible. But sometimes, we can unknowingly hurt a person’s feelings. Even though we may feel like our action may not be wrong, what we did/said hurt the other person, for that we can apologize. I found that my daughters were quick to understand the difference between the two. We’ve never had troubles with apologizing to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this. I find it harder to apologize to adults than my daughter. I have to say “sorry” to her almost everyday! No one is perfect, and I want her to learn that you must accept responsibilty and do what needs to be done to make things right!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A subject close to my heart. It’s very necessary to say sorry to your kids. No questions asked. From my experience of when I was growing up, it’s part power, part ego, part culture. A learned habit; all of which can be hard to lose without a sense of humility.

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  10. An adult child’s point of view: My parents would apologize to me whenever it was necessary. I respect my parents and have a solid trust with them because I know they were fallible but doing their best. Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who spent their childhood thinking their parents did no wrong and were very disappointed (and angry) to find out they were less than perfect. I vote apologies are good πŸ™‚

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  11. I struggle with the idea that some people have about not cutting the same slack with children as they do with adults. For example my son last week, was a hair breath away from being adopted out till he turned 18. He was in such a temper and I really struggled with him all day, some adults may have punished him in some way for his behaviour but it was so unusual for him, I decided that he was having a got out of bed the wrong side day, since he is only 3 he is unlikely to be able to communicate that he is just moody,

    To him sorry is just a word but I find it important to use it with him, I am not perfect by any means and I have snapped at him for something that was not his fault. If I expect him to say sorry than it is only fair that I say it

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well done! Takes a lot to see it like this for an entire day. Funny enough my 12 year old son had a bad day yesterday too. He actually apologized and said that he had no clue why he would feel so bad but he would. Go figure! He’s 12, hormones flying high, so it’s only fair to cut him some slack (of course still letting him know where the boundaries are). He handled himself really well. Sometimes I wake up in a mood I can not really understand and I will tell the kids that I have a bad day and that I might react differently to how I would normally do. Saying sorry goes a long way if it is coming from your heart.

      Liked by 1 person

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  13. This is a great post. I practice admitting to my kids whenever I make a mistake, I want to teach them that it is alright to make mistakes and that no one is perfect (not even mommy as hard as it is for them to believe) taking responsibility makes it even less stressful.

    Liked by 1 person

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