Passionate About Cincinnati
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Saying “I’m Sorry” to Your Children

Apologizing is never easy. Admitting you are wrong for something you said or did, or conversely didn’t say or do, is always difficult for most people. Taking the higher road and being the bigger person is always the optimal way to go, even if you don’t get the forgiveness or approval you desire (or even deserve). It’s a hard pill to swallow to lower your guard and admit your faults.

But asking my children for forgiveness is one of the hardest things I find myself having to do!

Kids are a tough crowd. They often have no filter and say it like it is, without any thought of how it’s going to come out. They do not pull any punches when it comes to “beating around the bush.” Honestly, I admire their straightforwardness and ability to say something that everyone else is thinking but afraid to say. I wish I had the wherewithal to be that open. But I fail miserably, almost daily it seems!

I’m admittedly a very impatient person. Why on earth did you have kids then? I’m sure you’re asking me that! I ask myself that sometimes as well, knowing full well that my patience can run thin at times, especially after a long day at work or with various daily life stresses.

It’s on those days that the grace has fully left my body and I’m overtaken by the most impatient person you’ll ever meet. It’s precisely at that moment my kids will talk incessantly, over each other,in growing volumes and I snap. I become the child I once admired for their lack of tact and their ability to say exactly what’s on their mind. Additionally with no thought of how it may come out or what someone may translate it to mean. It’s then, I realize what an awful mistake I’ve made while my children stare up at me with that look of disappointment and despair.

Well, now you’ve gone and done it mom! You blew it! You lost your cool.

No one ever said being a parent was going to be easy. I wish I could say that being a mom is always sunshine and rainbows. Honestly, there are a lot of cloudy, pouring days when you’re a parent. Sometimes even more so when you’re a single mom doing this parenting thing with no apparent back up. But, in true mom fashion, you pull up your bootstraps and repeat the mantra that goes something like this:

“Into each life some rain must fall” (in order to appreciate the blue skies that will come). The second part is my addition to the quote.

Essentially, in order for us to see all the good we have going for us, we’re bound to make mistakes. But it’s what we do with those mistakes that pushes us forward. How we respond, not only to others, but also to ourselves during those moments after you realize something has gone amiss. What can I do with those moments?

First and foremost, I take a step back, take a moment to gather my thoughts, which I did not do previously, and THEN I talk. I don’t mean talking AT my kids, but talking WITH my kids. And I start the conversation with an apology. I apologize to my children for my words and my reaction. I take the path of humility, and ask my children to forgive me. This is not easy. It’s hard enough to do this with adults, but it’s so hard to do with my children even more. I think partially because I’m supposed to be the living example to my children. I’m supposed to be molding them into their future selves. What I say and do is going to shape them into who they will be.

Mommy fail!!

But then, again after some introspection, this IS modeling what they should do. This is teaching them that no one is perfect, and that no one is beyond making a mistake. No one is exempt from imperfections, and boy am I relieved! My children will attest to you that I have lost my cool and I’ve reacted not so favorably at times to their actions. And that’s on me to make right and set an example. Apologizing to my children is humbling, and it’s hard, but it’s necessary.

Setting a positive example for your children starts with mistakes and blunders in life. Without them, they’d never know how to handle the aftermath and the clean up. I’m not afraid anymore to make things right with my children. In fact, I think it’s an important life lesson we all go through. Children are quite forgiving and at least my boys have learned that we aren’t perfect. We all make mistakes. And what’s even better, is that my boys have learned the importance of unconditional love and acceptance. They have learned that an apology can make a world of difference and can open the doors to more life lesson conversations.

Saying “I’m Sorry” to your kids is not always easy, and it takes a lot of understanding, on both the parent and the children’s part. But letting down your guard, and showing your children that you aren’t perfect and that you do make mistakes allows the forgiveness they freely give that much sweeter.

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