The 3 Words Your Kids Should Hear You Say

Don’t tell anyone this, just keep it between me and you, and the entirety of the internet. But as a parent I definitely screw up from time to time.

I know shocking right?

I think everyone is quick to admit that they aren’t perfect parents. What I find funny is even though we tell each other as parents, I don’t tell my kids. I mean this is my kids first time experiencing, life. How are they supposed to know that I make mistakes when parenting?

If I get mad at my kids for doing something small and petty and I discipline too harshly, they just assume that’s the way it should be done.

If I get frustrated with a behavior or attitude but mistakenly use language that is descriptive of who they are (You always, you never, etc.) they assume their actions are linked to their identity or worth.

Unless I tell my kids, especially at the young age they are, that Mommy and Daddy make mistakes, they assume what they see is what should be expected.

That’s why, Sarah and I have actively been working on going back and apologizing when we mess up.

We just try to explain that, sometimes mommy and daddy make mistakes. This is our first time being a parent just like it’s your first time being a kid.

“Sorry.”

It’s a powerful word for a kid to hear. Here’s 3 tips on how.

1. Start with sorry and a why. Not an explanation of your behavior or a reason why it was okay. Explain why you are apologizing and what you did that was wrong. Name it specifically.

2. Ask for them to forgive you. Tell them you shouldn’t have done what you did and ask for forgiveness. It’s teaching them grace toward others and that when you mess up, restoration is possible.

3. Resolve the issue. Most likely you messed up because of a discipline issue. If you did, go back and explain what disobedience you saw. If you lost your cool and there was honestly (do a real gut check here) nothing they did that was really wrong, explain that. I noticed this when one day Lizzy did something small and reacted as if she thought she would get in trouble. I suddenly remembered a time when I lost my cool and didn’t go back and apologize for it. She was using that time as her compass to drive her behavior. I had to explain in that moment that the thing I had made a big deal about before wasn’t in fact an issue.

  • Apologize to your kids. Nobody is perfect and everybody fails, that’s okay. The fact is the words “I am sorry” are 3 words your kids should hear you say because they communicate something so important. It tells your kids that we’re human, we’re flawed, and there’s grace available. But the best way for them to learn that is by watching you show them.
  • Photo by: Oleg Laptev on Unsplash
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