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Why I Apologize to my Kids

Being a parent is hard. As I always say we are imperfect parents trying to raise imperfect kids in an imperfect world. With no hand book or guide to see us through. With every kid being so different from the next. And even with our own emotions and frustrations getting in the way.

My kids, they mess up a lot. The often do what they want when I know they heard what I asked them to do. The argue with each other and say mean things. They disobey from time to time. And even sometimes they’re rude and disrespectful. They get punished for it all, in some way or another, because it’s my job as a parent to make sure I’m raising good boys. Good boys that I pray will eventually become good, respectful, honorable men.

But what about me? Do I mess up? Sure. Do I lose my tempter and yell when I shouldn’t? Yep. Do I say things that might be hurtful to my little people. Mmmhmm. Where’s my punishment? Do I get pulled aside and spanked? Or a time out or my computer or phone taken away? Nope. I can just move on from my mistakes, right?

I honestly don’t think that’s right. I want my kids to know that while I am doing my utmost best for them, I have and will continue to mess up. Being a parent does not make you perfect. And if my kids grow up thinking that they have perfect parents, or at least parents who pretend to be, how will that effect them? Mom gets mad at me for yelling at my brother, but then she turns around and yells at me? That doesn’t make sense! And who knows the implications of this. Distrust in us. Maybe some anger and hurt feelings bent up inside. Maybe a relationship that continues to grow apart throughout the years.

why I apologize to my kids

Whatever it is, I have decided to apologize to my kids when I wrong them. I don’t do it every time either, because of forgetting or being too busy, but I want it to be something I do. I am still the boss in my house, along with my husband. It doesn’t lessen our authority. In fact, I think it might reinforce it a bit. It hopefully will help them see that everyone messes up, and that’s okay. But no matter who you are, you aren’t too big to apologize.

Here’s how I do it and how I expect/train my kids to apologize to each other.

I am sorry honey for yelling at you.
Next time I will take a deep breath and calm down before I speak. 
Will you forgive me?

Hopefully this mends a little of the hurt in their hearts from me yelling. Hopefully this allows them to see that I’m not perfect and I’m aware of it and I’m acknowledging my mistakes. It also shows them that everyone messes up, and that’s okay. It’s how we deal with it afterwards that matters.

This is a recent thoughtful addition to our parenting and although I might have done it in the past, I hadn’t done it thoughtfully. This post was inspired by – a community for inspiration and encouragement for us on our journey!


14 Responses to Why I Apologize to my Kids

  1. Em R. July 18, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    I love this and totally agree, an apology to a child (especially your own) can be so powerful, I think it also helps them understand that even grown-ups make mistakes sometimes. The other day my husband and I had a really rough (we’re talking in the trenches) night with our 2-year-old daughter. She was throwing screaming tantrums out of nowhere at bedtime and it took us almost 3 hours to finally get her to sleep. We were, understandably, at the end of our rope…however, the next morning I was making breakfast and watching my husband cuddle with our daughter on the couch and he said, “Daddy’s sorry for getting so frustrated with you last night, I shouldn’t have yelled at you and I’m sorry.”

    I about lost it and cried in the kitchen. I never want to forget how powerful even a simple thing like an apology can be to my own kid!

    • Natalia July 28, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Oh my gosh, I’m sitting here reading this getting chills and tears welling up in my eyes! It’s so true, such a simple thing that is often very difficult to do can mean so much!! Thank you for sharing that story, it really touched me this morning!

  2. Heidi July 18, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    I love this. 🙂 And I apologize to my kids too. I make mistakes daily, just like they do, and i feel like when I apologize to them when I wrong them it teaches humility. My hope is that they learn by example that it’s much better to own up to our mistakes rather than cover them up. And right now it’s small stuff, but hopefully down the line when the bigger issues come up it will help them to be more open with me. You seem like a great mom and I really enjoy your blog, keep up the good work!

    • Natalia July 28, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      Thank you so much, Heidi! I’m not sure about the great mom thing, but man I’m trying! I agree with you in that it teaches them humility. And the fact that we are going to mess up, all of us, but it’s the way we deal with it from there that matters! Thank you for your kind words!

  3. Wanda July 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    It’s so funny you should write about this because just yesterday I was thinking about this very same thing. I have an illness that causes me to have days (sometimes weeks) of chronic pain and fatigue. I am also mom to a very active 3 year old girl. Yesterday was one of those days where I just wasn’t feeling well but my daughter was more active than usual. I lost my cool. I blew my top big time and I yelled…a lot. But I knew I was wrong. It just wasn’t justified. I took a moment to calm down and then I called her over and apologized. I feel that it’s the right thing to do because being a mom doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I asked her if she’d forgive me and she said, “Of course mommy. I love you soooo much!”

    • Natalia July 28, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      Kids are so loving and forgiving! And I’m sure she won’t remember you getting angry, but she’ll remember the humble, loving apology. And what kids can learn from that as well is great, how to be humble and apologize if we need to. Great story!

  4. Agi July 22, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    I apologize to my son all the time. My parents never did, even when they were blatantly wrong and I hated it. Even now my mom won’t apologize. It’s very hard. I apologize to my son because like you said if they do something wrong, they get into trouble, well I should also be held accountable. Great post. And thank you for your honesty.


    • Natalia July 28, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      I totally agree! It’s tough being a parent, and I want to make sure they know I’m doing my best!

  5. Teresa August 6, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    I feel like there are days when I am constantly apologizing to my children. I try to make them understand that it is never their fault because no matter what someone else says or does, each person is responsible for their own actions. They did not “make” me mad but their actions upset me and I did not exercise self control. We all have the same struggles, our children included. The situations may be different but the heart of the matter is the same. When we identify with them and humble ourselves before them it really nurtures our relationship with them. We may have the authority over them for now but that doesn’t me we are “better” than them.
    Thank you for being transparent. It’s always an encouragement to all of us who share in the same struggles. 🙂

    • Natalia August 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

      Oh I totally agree! It’s funny because somehow it’s easy to forget, you know? They’re just human, just like us! Sometimes I’ll be disciplining or even just talking to them about something that I so blatantly failed at earlier. But Romans 5:20 where sin has increased, grace abounded all the more!

  6. Angela August 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    I love this and agree completely! I can’t recall my dad apologizing much and my mom only did it in the hopes that we would validate her. I’ve got two different attitudes to work against but recognizing them makes such a big difference!

    I can still remember the first time I apologized to my daughter. She was about 12 months old and kept giving me her sippy cup, saying ‘more.’ There was water in it, I even replaced it a couple of times before I lost my cool with her. A couple of minutes after I yelled I took a closer look at her cup. The straw was on the bottom of the cup so she couldn’t get anything out of it! Add a few helpings of mommy guilt to the pile of yelling at my child. Well, I fixed it, gave it to her and apologized sincerely. I don’t know if she understood or not, but I certainly felt better.

    My kids need to know that I make mistakes. It’s how they understand that they will make mistakes too. They aren’t expected to be perfect and when they mess up I want them to know how to respond. To sincerely ask forgiveness because they know they were wrong and to care about the reply of the person they hurt. There are so many lessons to be taught to both myself and my children through apologies.

    • Natalia September 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

      I totally agree! It can be tough, because we are supposed to lead them, but then I think the best leading can come from an apology because they can see that we’re trying. Thanks for sharing your story, I love hearing them!


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