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The power of apologizing is not easy to recognize as a parent. In fact, it can feel a little humiliating to say sorry to your kids. You’re the adult! They don’t have a clue what you have sacrificed for them, and now you must apologize?

What about their behavior?!

As parents, it is good to learn how to apologize to your kids so they will understand humility and not resent you.  Also, it will set a good example for them to take ownership of their issues.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (AMP).

If you want to have a good relationship with your kids now and in the future, check out these five reasons why you must apologize. These tips will help you understand the power of a sincere apology.

The Power of Apologizing: 5 Reasons You Need to Say Sorry

Check out these five things that can happen when you choose not to apologize to your child. You may be shocked at some of the long-term consequences of not taking the time to resolve conflict in healthy ways. The power of a sincere apology is worth noting.

1. It sabotages the relationship

If you don’t learn the power of apologizing now, you will sabotage your relationship with your child in the long term.

Over the years, unresolved conflict can turn into resentment, bitterness, and even hatred.

A wedge may be created that never gets resolved.

Furthermore, even if you go to counseling, you may not know how to start unraveling the problem after years of offenses. Many times, the past is blurred by time and emotions. Sadly, no one remembers enough details to understand what happened clearly.

However, there is one thing your child will remember when he is older–how you made him feel when he was young.

Take into account and listen to how your child feels about your behavior. You can likely improve things like your tone of voice, gestures, nonverbal responses, and avoidance of interrupting.

I was the worst at interrupting my kids. Definitely had some amends to make for that!

Never underestimate the power of apologizing. It will reap dividends later in your relationship.

RELATED: The Greatest Secret to Having Healthy Family Relationships

2.  It creates a double standard

Learn to say “sorry,” so you don’t create a double standard. Most parents introduce the “I’m sorry” concept early, usually by age three to four.

They understand an offense and possibly how to make amends for their bad behavior. They know it’s wrong when they bite, hit, lie, kick, or throw sand in someone’s face.

When you do something wrong to your child (yell, swear, slap, threaten, verbal or physical abuse, etc.), your child automatically thinks the same thing. There should be an apology. And change!

Innately, we are all born with a sense of justice. It is a logical deduction.

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When you don’t apologize (and change), you create an incredible amount of confusion because your child sees that adults don’t have to obey the same rules regarding taking responsibility for their actions.

God has one standard for sin. It is repentance for all.  Don’t underestimate the power of apologizing.

Proverbs 20:23 says, “The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.”

RELATED: How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids: 7 Easy Tips to Be a Calm Parent

3.  It sets you up as God

Apologizing to your child is essential so you do not set yourself up as God.

When you do not humbly admit wrongs, you become all-powerful in the family. Your kids may even develop fear towards you as there is nothing to stop you from doing whatever you want without consequence.

Furthermore, your child will have a hard time separating God from dad/mom since both are all-powerful. This confusion can easily get dragged into adulthood, causing spiritual disillusionment and anger towards our Heavenly Father.

The best thing you can do as a parent is to practice repentance so that your kids don’t ever confuse your behavior with God’s behavior.

1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth” (NLT).

RELATED: 5 Reasons to Forgive Those Who Hurt You (Even If They Don’t Deserve It)

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 Dealing with marriage or family issues? Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or buy Marriage Interrupted or Estranged at your favorite digital store.4.  It negates a teachable moment to forgive

Apologizing to your child is an opportunity to take advantage of a teachable moment. When you say sorry, you set an excellent example of making things right when you have acted poorly.

You restore the relationship and reinforce the fact that you are not perfect. And that is okay. You have made yourself human and shown that part of life is humbly apologizing and making changes.

The power of apologizing to your kids is not just saying sorry; it’s asking for forgiveness. Your kids will not practice forgiveness if you don’t own your bad behavior.

If you don’t model biblical behavior, you have set your children up to believe that they no longer have to apologize once they are adults since you don’t, nor will they know how to forgive quickly.

This, in turn, starts a generational stronghold.

It often takes fasting and many prayers to break a generational stronghold of this magnitude.

Mark 11:25 says,And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (NIV).

RELATED: Feeling like a Failure as a Parent? 6 Tips to Overcome Mom Guilt

5.  It creates a lack of respect

Understanding the power of apologizing is essential to creating a shared understanding of respect for each other. When parents are disrespectful to their children, the kids often cry, recoil, and go into self-protection mode due to fear and shame.

You can split hairs and rationalize how adults are in charge and shouldn’t be questioned or need to apologize, but I ask you to step back and look at yourself.

See also  11 Bad Parenting Fails That Will Make You Laugh

If you could watch yourself on video, what would you see? Would you be able to show that video to your friends?

Consider whether you have created quiet contempt or heartfelt respect and admiration in your child’s heart.

You can demand respect from your children through compliance, but you can’t demand respect from their hearts.

That is earned.

Matthew 7: 12 says,”So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (NIV).

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When to Say Sorry and When Not to

If you have done something wrong, then it is important to apologize to your child.

However, if you know you are not wrong, you can still listen to your child’s feelings. Sometimes, kids need to be validated for their feelings about your decision.

You can say:

  1. I’m so glad you are talking to me. And then listen.
  2. I believe you. Tell me how you feel.
  3. Tell me more if they need to continue talking (respectfully)

Teenagers, especially, have a heightened sense of justice when wronged, so it is essential to discuss the issues. This is why you need to understand the power of apologizing.

Over time, they may hold a grudge and become challenging if you do not address the problem. Furthermore, they may obsess over the offense and fall into self-pity or even depression.

Keep talking. Listen a lot. Stand firm on what is right, but do it with love.

Rules without a relationship equal rebellion.

RELATED: The Ultimate Secret on How to Deal With a Difficult Child

The Power of Apologizing: How Do You Apologize to Your Kids and Unlock Their Hearts?

If you are going to understand the power of apologizing to your child, then you might want to remember these three tips:

1. Admit what you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness.

Don’t say,” If I hurt you, I’m sorry,” or “If you would have put your shoes on, I wouldn’t have yelled.”

A better example is something like, “Mommy lost her temper. I am so sorry. I should not have acted that way. Will you forgive me? I will do better next time.”

The second sentence takes ownership of behavior, while the first sentence lacks true repentance for bad behavior. A good apology owns the offense, asks for forgiveness, and changes in the future.

2. Don’t blame or shame your child.

Even though your kid may be annoying or disobedient for the tenth time, don’t shift the blame to him when you have lost your cool. Furthermore, don’t shame him with careless words like “If you weren’t so bad, I wouldn’t have to yell at you all the time.”

Ensure your words are loving and healing, not blame and shame. After that, appropriately deal with the disobedience.

RELATED: How to Discipline Kids: 29 Proven Strategies (For All Ages) That Work!

3. It is not about winning and losing

Parenting is a relationship, not a wrestling match.

Stop thinking you are on opposing teams. You are in this together as a family. You either all work together, or you become fractured.

See also  How to Pray For Your Children and Get Results

Don’t ignore the power of apologizing (and changing). It covers a multitude of sins and heals broken hearts.

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the power of apologizing

Why the Power of Apologizing Important?

If you readily apologize for your behavior, your child will probably be more willing to do the same. Every once in a while, you may get a child who is obstinate and won’t say sorry when he is wrong.

Start praying when this happens. Pray the Holy Spirit breaks through and gets to their heart.

In the meantime, work on your side of the street (work on you) and do everything to restore the relationship with your child.

If there have been gross offenses, take care of them now! Name them and own them, don’t say “if I did something wrong…”

This is about you. It is time to own up and set an example so your child will follow.

Ask God to show you if you don’t know where to start. Having a humble spirit is the first place to start.

Understanding the power of apologizing is essential when parenting. If you do it right, you will unlock their hearts and maintain a healthy relationship. Do you say sorry?

Comment below. 

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Are you struggling with family issues that have resulted in a family rift or a family estrangement? Are you feeling a sense of shame, anger, or rejection?  Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store.

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Don’t let the pain of estrangement hold you back. Allow God to assist you in healing, no matter what has happened within your family. Remember, there is always hope to be found, even when things seem to be falling apart.

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Author

Julie is a wife, mom, teacher, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, parenting with a touch of humor.

31 Comments

  1. This is so good. I really enjoyed reading the other thoughts on this. Apologizing to our children and hearing their heart had been so important to us. The older they get I realize just how hard we have tried to be godly parents and how we have still fallen so short. It is hard to know and do everything right. Thank you for sharing and for your visit to my blog also.

    • Rachel,
      Thank you so much for your comments. It is so hard swallowing our pride and saying sorry. But, oh, is it worth it in the long run! The power of apologizing to our kids is incredible. It will reap dividends years later.

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  5. This is really good! Apologizing to our children does build trust and respect within their hearts. Thank you for this post! ❤

  6. This is such a hard thing to do, not only to apologize to our children, but to anyone. Thank you for this insightful approach to setting a healthy example!

  7. Leading by example is important but it was my toddler who actually taught me how to apologize. At a young age, he knows how to say sorry when his wrong and made me realize I should do the same when I’m having bad days. I believe there are a lot of things an adult also has to learn from a child because of their innocence and pure heart. Great read, Julie. Loved this post!

    • Thanks for being so honest. I appreciate your comment. I am sure you are an awesome mom who is real and can still be loving. Thanks for reading.

  8. Anne Markey Reply

    I love all your points. As a parent, I try to apologize every time I snap, or get mad or I know I hurt their feelings. I think by doing so I show them I am human and also make mistakes

  9. Wrong is wrong and I think when we show our kids we can own up to our mistakes and apologize it is so beneficial for their growth!

  10. I loved reading this. I have my bad mom moments, but I always try to make sure my son is understanding why I was upset and how sorry I was that I had to react. These are great stepping stones to an amazing relationship with your children.

  11. Such a great read. I think apologizing really comes down to leading by example. If an adult can’t apologize to their child, how on earth can we expect our kids to authentically apologize to us – or anyone?! I think it’s also okay to let them know we aren’t perfect and can make mistakes but we are doing our very best 🙂

  12. Apologizing to our children shows them that we make mistakes too. It also models how to apologize for them!

  13. I fully agree with this! My husband and I have talked many times about not setting a standard of perfection for our kids, which means admitting that we all have faults and taking ownership of them by admitting to them and apologizing. Our daughter has taken it a step further by apologizing FOR us lately, though (She will tell me “Daddy’s sorry” or something similar lol). Always a process…

    • Ha Ha! That’s really cute. I have never heard a child apologizing for the parent. I think she gets it. Thank you for reading this.

  14. Apologising to our children is essential. I like to call it repair. so important to a healthy relationship

    • Repair is a great word. None of can go through life without a little repair here and there. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  15. Interesting post on parenting! I don’t have children yet, but I think it’s important for parents to admit when they are wrong and use it as a teaching opportunity and moment of humility. Great post!

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