Once I had a child I was immediately worried about making huge parenting mistakes. I think that’s pretty common among parents.
As parents, we first worry about how many diaper changes they have and if the swaddle is on correctly. Then, we worry about the types and amounts of food they eat and whether or not they’re eating enough.
The worry is always there. The fear of making mistakes never truly subsides. It just changes as they get older.
However, as a person who was once and child and also a parent there is one thing my parents did that made a huge difference in my life. And talking to many other people it is something they wish their parents had done and plan to do with their own children.
Sounds so simple right? But, in fact, it is not.
I truly think that by not apologizing to your children when you are wrong you are making a huge parenting mistake.
When I was sixteen years old I distinctly remember having an argument with my father. I’m not sure what it was about, and I don’t actually think it was his fault. I was (and still am) pretty stubborn so it most likely was me being an emotional teenager. However, after the argument, my father apologized to me. He didn’t apologize because he just wanted me to get my way, he apologized because he felt like the way he spoke to me during the argument wasn’t right. And I will always remember that.
I have friends who have said to me that there are old hurts from their past, but that their parents would never admit or apologize for them. And because of that, my friends have had unresolved issues with their parents that still affects them.
The mistake is easy to make. It is far easier to not apologize. Especially to our children.
Sometimes I don’t think I need to apologize because my child did do something wrong and should have been put in timeout. But when I recognize that I screamed at him instead of simply being calm I know I need to apologize.
I have a friend who is very well versed in apologizing to her children. So much in fact, that she asks her child if they can try to have a better day the next day. Which sounds simple, but by her doing this her child recognizes (at three years old) when he needs to apologize and ask to have a better day the next day.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Our children learn from us. They learn their behavior by what we do. So if we are quick to apologize and quick to recognize the mistakes we have made, they will be too. And they won’t be afraid to admit them.
Making mistakes, failing, doing something wrong and all the other things won’t be terrifying. We will raise children who aren’t afraid to fail. Who know they can have a better day tomorrow. And I just love that idea!