When you were growing up, did you ever get blamed for something that wasn’t your fault? Did your parents ever take their frustrations out on you? Ever hear the phrase “Because I said so.”, or “because I’m the parent and I’m always right.”? What did you learn from these times? What did it teach you? Anything?
I heard many of these arguments growing up. I got blamed for many things. Like one of my dad’s tools would go missing and then all hell would break loose. He would come in yelling and screaming and pointing fingers. But it never once crossed his mind that he could have simply misplaced this object. It just wasn’t possible.
Even if my parents had discovered that what they accused my brother and I of something that was not our fault, they never told us about it. They never admitted to being at fault. They were the parents. That meant that they were always right, even when they were wrong. It’s something you learned to just deal with. There was no point in trying to fight it, it would never change.
Now I am a mother. I have a 2 year old and although he doesn’t really understand everything yet, I apologize to him. All the time really. If he walks in front of me causing me to knock him over, I apologize. After all, that’s what I would do if he were an adult.
We practice peaceful parenting in our house. That means no spanking, no cry it out, and no yelling. It isn’t always easy and sometimes I lose my cool. If I raise my voice, it almost always ends with my son terrified and in tears. It’s not normal behavior for him to endure. And I always apologize to him for acting out of frustration. Always.
We haven’t gotten to the age of the blame game, but if I find I have made incorrect assumptions, I will apologize. Why? Because that is what you are supposed to do. That is what you would want someone to do if they accused you of something you had nothing to do with. That is how you would want to be treated and how you want your child to treat others. We teach by doing.
Apologizing to our kids also shows them that we care about how they feel. It lets them know that it’s okay to admit to being wrong. That everyone is wrong at times and that we all have faults. Nobody is perfect, not even parents. There is no reason to pretend to be.
It teaches them to forgive. And to ask for forgiveness when they should. That being stubborn and full of pride is not always the best thing. I have more respect for those who can admit that they were wrong than for a person who continues to deny it even when they have discovered they were wrong.
Apologizing is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. It takes strength to admit that you are wrong. To own up to your actions and accept the consequences. It allows people to see that you don’t see yourself as perfect and makes it so others are more likely to let you know when they were wrong as well.
Why do you think parents are afraid to apologize to their kids?