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Apologies and forgiveness in parenting

A sincere apology can go a long way in repairing a relationship.
A sincere apology can go a long way in repairing a relationship.
Photo by Butupa at Flickr

One of the best things you can do for your children is apologize when you mess up and then forgive yourself. Doing those two simple (and really difficult) things will make a huge difference in your relationship with your children and with yourself. As an added bonus, there are a lot of teachable moments all balled up in that one exchange.

Apologies - Children need to learn how to apologize genuinely. What better way than by watching their parents do it? In this way, they will also learn to see genuine apologies not as a sign of weakness but rather as one of strength. It takes a strong person to admit their mistakes and take action to correct them rather than try to cast blame elsewhere.

Mistakes - Mistakes happen to everyone, which means your children are going to make them. When you apologize, you are acknowledging that you made a mistake. Watching you handle yours will teach them how to handle theirs. Plus it shows them that it is okay to make mistakes because everyone does, even parents.

Forgiveness - This parenting thing is hard. Parents can spend all of their time going over all of the mistakes they've made, but that tends to lead to more mistakes. Instead of focusing all of that negative energy inward, show your children that it is okay to forgive yourself. Let them see that there is no need to continue beating yourself up for making a mistake. Then let it go because all of that fretting energy could be spent in positive interaction with your kids or in self-care or on your relationships – anywhere but tearing yourself down because off a simple mistake. Because after all, everyone makes them.

Do you have a discipline question about a specific behavioral issue? Send it to me at AshleyMKWrites@Gmail.com, and I may feature it in an upcoming article.

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