Every parent makes mistakes. Sometimes, however, you might be wrong about something which is so obvious and significant that you feel you need to apologise to your child.
For instance, you might feel bad because you severely punished her for doodling on her bedroom wall, only to discover the next day that it was her older brother who was guilty of this.
Or maybe your kid misbehaved at the supermarket and you feel guilty because you lost your temper and shouted at her.
On such occasions, you may be tempted to apologise, but Grandma reminds you that a parent should never need to say sorry to her kid. Opinions vary on this.
When you regularly say sorry
Although you may feel guilty about what you did yesterday and have not slept well last night for thinking about it, your child may have forgotten about it already.
You’d be amazed at a child’s ability to let these incidents slip out of her conscious thoughts. So the impact of your behaviour on your little one may be much less than you imagined.
Think carefully about the incident that troubles you and try to see it from her perspective before you apologise. It needs to makes sense to her or it’ll have no effect.
But if you say sorry too often to your little one, she’ll begin to have doubts about your ability as a parent. She assumes that you know what’s best and you don’t make mistakes.
If you regularly say sorry, she may even start to worry that you get too many things wrong and that she isn’t safe with you.
Apologies also lose their effect when issued too often, and she will start to take advantage of you.
(Also read: 9 ways to stop getting angry at your child)
If you decide to apologise
There are parents who believe in uttering those two little words. If you do apologise to your child for something that you regret having done, this teaches her how to make an apology when it’s required.
It sets a good example that she can follow when she needs to apologise, and lets her see that saying sorry isn’t just something that kids should do. There surely can’t be anything wrong with that.
Offering an apology to your child doesn’t only take the tension out of a confrontation, it can also enhance your relationship.
Your action demonstrates to her that you think deeply about her, that you don’t like upsetting her and you are prepared to admit your mistakes.
As a result, her trust in you could increase and she may feel more relaxed in your company. There’s nothing like a big “let’s make up” cuddle after an apology has been given.
So it’s a judgment call whether you want to say “sorry” to her for something you’ve done. Chances are, the potential psychological benefits outweigh any potential drawbacks.
Besides, if you are clearly in the wrong and your young child sees that you don’t offer an apology, her resentment is likely to build. She’ll be more resistant about apologising in the future.
When you do decide to say sorry to her, sit her down so she faces you at eye level.
Tell her why you want to apologise, explain what you would do differently the next time, and finish with a hug. Then forget about it and move on.
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