Before I proceed, let me tell you this: I shouldn’t have written this article because it doesn’t look good on me. I could have chosen to hide this from you.
But I go ahead and complete it despite my initial hesitation, for one main reason: I want you to know we are not perfect. And everybody has one or more weaknesses (in parenting our children). Despite this fact, I also want you to know what is more important is we do our best to minimize our weaknesses, or better still get rid of them.
I am not shy to admit I have some weaknesses myself. This is one of them…
If you are following my stories (one of them is here), you know that my biggest challenge being a father is impatience. Impatience is taking a toll on my relationships with my two children, 7 and 4 respectively.
Just within a week, I lost control of my emotions: K first, then followed by J. It was very obvious that, in these two instances, I was at fault. I blew my top and yelled at them for defying my instructions.
Deep in my heart I know yelling and screaming bring nothing but harm. But I just couldn’t help it. I exploded and all hell broke loose.
The cause: K refused to put away his toys and stationery before going to bed.
After the event: I said sorry to him after I calmed down minutes later. I told him, “I am sorry I screamed at you just now. I know it was not right for daddy to do that.”
K nodded his head. Looked very innocent.
“Are you trying to be a good daddy?” he then blurted out. I burst out laughing at his reply.
Children are so forgiving and forgetful, aren’t they?
The cause: J just kept quiet when I asked her questions. I know I should not get mad at this but getting no answers really drives me crazy.
After the event: When I realized I made a mistake of losing my control, I felt really bad. Then I apologized to her.
In both incidents, after saying sorry, I gave them a big hug and I told them how much I loved them.
Three reasons why parents should apologize to children
Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann
There is nothing wrong saying sorry to your children should you make a mistake. However I know it is hard for parents (especially men) to apologize to someone who is so much younger than us – because of ego.
Yes, it is not easy but I did it twice in a week. But why?
Firstly, saying sorry is very therapeutic and it is free! All your guilt and anger melt away like ice-cream on a hot day. The result is you just feel good and you are ready to start anew.
Secondly, apologizing to your child will not make you a bad or weak parent. Contrary to what you might think, you command better respect from your child when you apologize because you are brave enough to admit your mistake. And also you are sincere in making wrong right. Don’t let your ego take control over you as it can ruin your parent-child relationships more than you can imagine.
Lastly, by apologizing, you set a good example for your child to follow. We are not perfect and we are only human. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s a noble thing to say sorry when we do. And we want our children to follow suit. This is the essence of leading by example.
So next time when you make a mistake, put aside your ego and say sorry to your child. After all, saying sorry is not that hard anyway if you appreciate the goodness it can bring to you and your child.