As with most characteristics we want our children to grow in, humility – specifically apologizing – is something we must lead by example in. Not solely apologizing to them when you have messed up (though that is very important) but also modeling it in your marriage and in your relationships. Our kids see and pick up on everything. So showing humility, respect and apologizing to our spouse is super impactful to our little ones.
Colossians 2:12 says “clothe yourselves with compassion, humility, gentleness and patience.”
I don’t know about you, but if I imagine clothing myself in humility and gentleness…I don’t see myself rolling my eyes, mumbling or having a bad attitude when I am apologizing. Even thought it’s certainly a temptation sometimes!
Teaching our kids to apologize and HOW to do it is crucial. Walking them through what to do and what not to do. And having them practice!
Have them practice outside of an actual situation where they would need to apologize. Maybe at bedtime or a time within the day where you really have their full attention. Walk through a scenario where your child would have to apologize and practice how to do it AND how not to do it.
“When we apologize, we need to look our friends in their eyes and say I am sorry for taking your toy.”
We have always taught our kids that when apologizing they need to make eye contact, state what they are apologizing for and finish up with a hug. That being said, we are nine years into our parenting and this is something we have to revisit frequently. And that’s okay!
To save this post for later,
I want to finish up by addressing a new idea out there that we shouldn’t “make” our kids say sorry if they don’t want to. To that notion I say, do you tell your kids that they need to say please and thank you..even when they don’t feel grateful? There are many other examples I can think of but this one puts it simply.
Teaching our kids to apologize is much more important than saying please and thank you. So why would we shy away from showing them how important it is?