How to apologise to your kids
Knowing how to say you're sorry doesn't make you a weak parent.
I’ve noticed that some parents find it difficult to say “I'm sorry” to their children. They’d rather buy presents to show that they’re sorry instead of just uttering the words. I’m left wondering if some just find it a difficult thing to do or of it's pride or even a cultural issue? As the saying goes “you lead by example” and now when you can't apologise when you've wronged your child, as a parent can you really expect them to apologise when they have done wrong? We need to remember that we are raising future leaders, mothers and fathers and therefore we need to instil the correct values when they are still young. It’s sad to see some of the things we grew up with manifesting negatively into adulthood.

Thembisile, a mother of three had this to share: My father never said “I'm sorry” to me, when he was wrong he would brush it off and that used to hurt me. To make up for the wrong he had done he would come back from town with some clothes and nice food. In his own way he was apologising but I longed to hear those words from him and not have all the things he used to buy.

Now that I’m a mother I make sure that I apologise to my kids when I'm wrong. This doesn't make me less of a mother or make me lose my respect instead I'm showing them that I'm not a perfect person and they can also make mistakes. I don’t see myself as a weak mother when I apologise.

I had to learn to do this in my marriage as well. I used to cook nice meals for my husband or plan a great time in the bedroom instead of apologising to him when I had done wrong. But he pointed out how this hurt him and I had to watch my actions and learn to apologise using the words “I'm sorry”.

When a parent apologises it shows the kids that they are respected. As parents we often make the mistakes of thinking that only adults should be getting the respect and not give it to our children. It might not be easy to apologise but we need to try. Some people would argue that you should never admit fault to your children because it weakens your authority. Children have feelings too. They want to be acknowledged. Our children are watching our actions.

This this doesn’t mean that as parents we should apologise for having instilled discipline no matter how unhappy this makes the child. You can't reprimand a child and then apologise for your actions. I am referring to things like hurting a child’s feelings. Not making that appointment to watch him play soccer at school as promised (not to just say “well I was at work, you know that I could not make it” but a promised was made”) or shouting at him in front of his friends which we know can be quite embarrassing. We know very well that this can be heart-breaking therefore you should apologise. Be sincere in your apology. Instead of using “stuff” to apologise and buying the apology maybe it’s time our children hear those words from us. 

Read more by Masanda Peter


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