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Do you apologize to your kids?

Categories: Parenting & Family


Yesterday was one of those Tuesdays which felt like ten terrible not very good Mondays squished in one. I’ll spare you the details, other than to say that it started with my sitting in traffic for over an hour and missing an important meeting and involved spilled tea, temporarily lost phone and forgetting to call someone I really needed to call. Yowsa. Needless to say by the time I got home I was cranky and exhausted.

I don’t know about you, but one of the first things that goes when I am exhausted is patience (and no, I’m not a very patient person to begin with). So when my kiddo - who also happened to be pretty tired - was goofing off as we practiced piano, I got upset. When she left her dinner dishes on the table and walked out of the kitchen, I gave her a lecture on my not being her made and her needing to clean up the dishes (it’s one of her responsibilities in our family.) You get the idea — it was one of those evenings.

After I put her to bed, had some tea and caught my breath a bit I felt pretty terrible. I didn’t do anything awful but I could have been a lot more patient and less anal about stuff with her. I believe in teaching kids to be responsible but there are better ways to do it. So when she woke up this morning the first thing I did was go into her room, give her a huuuuge hug, and tell her that I was sorry for being so cranky last night.

I explained that I was really tired and while yes, she could have focused on piano a bit more and no, I shouldn’t have to remind her to clean up the dishes, I definitely over-reacted. She smiled, told me it was OK, and gave me a huuuuge hug back. We rocked out our busy morning (just girls in our house this week since my husband is traveling for work) and when I dropped her off at school I felt really happy that I apologized to her. Kids are resilient and one cranky parenting evening won’t do any damage — and I’m not even sure she remembered it after a good night of sleep — but I think it’s really important to say you’re sorry. It teaches her that parents aren’t perfect and do stupid stuff and it teaches her to be honest and say sorry when she does something wrong.

Do you apologize to your kids or do you feel as a parent, it’s not something you need to do?

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6 comments so far...

  • I absolutely appologize to my kids when it’s necessary. I believe in teaching by example, and so if I expect them to appologize when they screw up, I should do the same. I also think that it helps them see me as human, and since I make mistakes, it’s ok for them to talk to me about mistakes they’ve made as well. One thing I always want my boys to know is that they can talk to me about anything, and I see appologizing as one more way I keep those lines of communication open.

    CKB  |  December 14th, 2011 at 11:14 am

  • My son is only two, and I definitely apologize to him. I want him to learn that everyone makes mistakes, that it’s important to say you’re sorry, that other people’s feeling matter, and yes, that mommy is human.

    Ginger  |  December 14th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

  • I do apologize if my behavior was out of line. However, I don’t apologize for being their mom and doing what moms do - including disciplining.

    When I catch myself going off on my kids all out of proportion, I will stop and tell them what I think has me on such a short fuse, and acknowledge that it’s not their fault.

    I think it’s good for kids to realize that parents are human. It’s also good to see adults take ownership of their “human” behavior and try to improve it.

    SKL  |  December 14th, 2011 at 6:49 pm

  • I can absolutely relate to the story. It’s easy to lose patience with those who are dearest to us. I try to apologize when I get a little carried away… on occasion, I have even been known to wake a sleeping child to do so while smothering him/her with hugs, kisses, and “I love you”s. It is a GREAT lesson to teach our children by example. I try to apologize to my spouse in front of the kids whenever possible, too.

    TCmommy  |  December 16th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

  • Totally apologize here as well. Especially now that they are teens and emotions and all our hormones can be flying. But from my experience, it has made our teen years much more manageable and enjoyable that I apologized in the early years.

    We all have a little more understanding when someone is upset and having a bad day. We can recognize the signs because previously we communicated those signs. This helps us kind of get out of the way on the bad days and maybe catering a little to them, which works out in the end when everyone is completing the circle.

    Val  |  December 19th, 2011 at 3:48 am

  • I definitely apologize…my daughter is almost 3 and I think that she is already learning a lot from me and my husband, she models what we do all the time. Why not model humility and self awareness?

    Lauren  |  January 6th, 2012 at 8:53 pm