Sometimes we underestimate the power of taking ownership for our mistakes and apologizing to our children. Maybe you’ve thought its best that your kids don’t see your weaknesses, you need to set a great example for them so they shouldn’t see you fail. Maybe if you hurt your child’s feelings because you lost your temper you have thought to yourself “Well if she just listened the first time I wouldn’t have lost it”. I have learned in my parenting that an apology to my children is much more than just an apology.
Creating a safe haven. As parents, we want our kids to always feel like they can talk to us about how they are feeling – especially if its because of something WE have done. Being humble, recognizing where we fall short and apologizing to our kids will foster openness and vulnerability between us. It’s a two way street! If our kids never see us apologizing or talking with them about things we need to work on, odds are that they won’t feel the need to talk with us about their failures or struggles.
Apologizing opens the door for mutual respect, communication and trust. Our kids see that we are not perfect, no matter how hard to try to shelter them from it! They are the most forgiving, grace giving people that we will come across in our lives. As we create an atmosphere in our homes where we are apologizing and teaching how to resolve conflict – it will be that much easier for them to apologize and resolve conflict at school, at work, with their future friends and future spouse!
Modeling humility. One of the biggest ways we mold and shape our children is leading by example. They watch us constantly and pick up on our behaviors, the way we treat them will influence the way they treat friends, siblings etc. As we model humility, they will see in us what humility looks like, what humility sounds like, and how humility can restore and strengthen a relationship between two people.
Where else are they going to see people resolving conflict, being humble, recognizing their mistakes and apologizing? At school? On the playground? At their sports events? Unfortunately odds are they won’t be seeing these things happening very often.
Pointing them back to the cross. Forgive each other, as God has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 Making mistakes as parents can be a great opportunity for us to teach our children about the gift of grace. Our children get to see how much even their parents need to be forgiven of, and how much God has chosen to forgive us of! If our kids don’t see us making mistakes, repenting and apologizing they miss an opportunity to see God’s goodness and grace. We need to take advantage of this opportunity and point them to the cross when we mess up, and in turn when they mess up too!
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47