Apologizing to Our Kids
Whoever said, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” was an idiot. I’m not even sure what that saying means, exactly. Does it mean that if you truly love someone, you will never wrong them, and therefore never have to say you are sorry? Or, does it mean that because you are in love that the wrongs done to each other will be forgiven and forgotten without the need for an apology? Either way, it’s flawed, illogical thinking.
It took about 13 minutes into my marriage to realize that we were going to have to learn to apologize to each other. A couple’s ability to sincerely apologize, forgive and move past hurt is directly correlated to the success of their marriage. Of course, it’s nice when we can also use those opportunities to grow and become less flawed, but let’s face it, we usually don’t. Typically we do the same annoying or inconsiderate things over and over again, so the mechanism of apology and forgiveness is very important to a relationship.
Just when I thought I had this all figured out, my husband and I had kids. The first few years of parenting revolve around meeting your baby’s physical needs. Deciding how you will feed, diaper and teach your child to sleep, as well as all of the cognitive and emotional development that happens in the first few years is vital. But, once our children start to become walking, talking little individuals we find that parenting starts to extend past decisions about meeting physical needs to answering emotional, spiritual and disciplinary needs as well. It’s at this point in parenting where sincere apology becomes a crucial skill.
I have found that when I have wronged my children, either through words, actions or a decision I regret, a swift and sincere apology seems to mitigate much of the pain, resentment and hurt that could come as a result. It’s so simple, and yet it can be so hard to get down on your knee and say, “Honey, I’m so sorry that I snapped at you. I was frustrated, but I shouldn't have taken that out on you. I love you. Will you forgive Mommy?”
Apologizing and seeking forgiveness defuses anger, hurt, resentment and retaliation. It acknowledges to our children that we know we aren't perfect. It shows them a living example that making mistakes is inevitable, but it’s what we do after those mistakes that defines our character. Our kids will grow up practicing both forgiveness and repentance because they see it modeled in us.
“Above all else, love each other deeply. For love covers a multitude of sins [mistakes].” 1 Peter 4:8
Written by Karis Murray