Everyone makes mistakes.
Acknowledging yours is the first step in an invaluable lesson for children.
Modelling behaviour we would like to see develop in our children is important. It will influence the interactions with other children and adults.
Often as adults we may find ourselves insisting a child apologise to another child or sibling and yet may not model or afford the same respect to the child ourselves.
A sincere apology will be better equip children to navigate friendships as well as lead into the ability to successfully handle difficult situations as an adult.
There will be times when we need to apologise to a child for our behaviour, for something we may have said or done that was hurtful.
An apology is a learning opportunity for children.
A genuine apology has great power to undo mistakes but by no means erase them.
A meaningful apology will help to fix the situation.
When is an apology required? This is often the question as to know when is the situation warranting a apology.
We may feel that it is our role to be ‘right’ and to apologise may show signs of not being infallible or worry that a child may lose respect. In fact it is the opposite.
There are situations when an apology is warranted.
Situations such as
By apologizing to a child it shows a willingness to accept responsibility for your actions. It demonstrates that mistakes do happen and provides the opportunity as a learning opportunity for the child in reflecting and taking responsibility for their actions.
It will help to make the child feel valued and loved.
Apologies explain how the situation occurred rather than providing an excuse.
Upon reflection about the situation it also allows an insight to help avoid further conflict and helps a child to learn how to respect people and deal with emotions.
As a child develops an apology can help them identify and understand feelings.
When you apologise to a child, you show you’re not infallible and it helps to model the more appropriate way to accept responsibility and provide the opportunity for them to learn about forgiveness.
If you have behaved wrong and apologise it validates the child, shows empathy, positive role modelling, shows outcome to resolving conflict, promotes good practice.
it is recommended to never apologise for something out of your control. The rational in not apologizing is if you apologize for someone else’s actions or a particular situation not involving you personally you are in effect taking responsibility and making excuses for that is not related to you. Apologies should be solely reserved for things you’ve done wrong.
That is not to say that you don’t acknowledge other situations such as another’s bad behaviour, a disappointment that may seem unfair or if a friends has upset them, In these types of instances your role is to provide empathy, not an apology.
The focus in apologizing is making things better with your child.
It takes courage to admit you were wrong, and to ask for forgiveness.
However, it will strengthen the relationship with your child, make you feel a better parent, raise healthier more connected children who take responsibility and value relationships.