Ethan cryingAs a parent, you undoubtedly will need to say I’m sorry to your kids along the way.

And that’s okay.

When you make a mistake, raise your voice, hurt their feelings, you don’t have to cover it up, justify it, or mumble an apology.  It’s your opportunity to teach one of the A+ skills Dr. Gary Chapman and I write about in Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven WorldThe A+ skill of apology.

You apologize when you eat your child’s bag of oreos.

Yes, I did that.

When Ethan received a bag of peppermint oreos for Christmas a few years ago.  To save him from eating that dreadful junk food, I did him the favor of eating the…whole…bag.

Unlike me, he has great self control and didn’t ask about the cookies until around Valentine’s Day.  He was SHOCKED that I, his wonderful mother, had eaten his Christmas gift!  This was my opportunity to own up.  I confessed and apologized, and made restitution (I bought him a bag of oreos and did not eat them this time).  I repented of my cookie sin and thankfully, although I still eat cookies, I don’t eat my kids gifts anymore.

Here are a few things Dr. Chapman suggests you say when apologizing to kids:

I did it, and I have no excuse.

I’m responsible for the mistake.

I was careless.

I was insensitive.

I was rude.

My actions were not acceptable.

I will do the work to fix my mistake.

You have every right to be upset.

I know what I did was wrong.

Here are a few things not to say when apologizing:

Haven’t you gotten over that yet?

I should be excused because I…

If you hadn’t…

That’s just silly.

That’s life.

What’s the big deal?

You’re acting like a baby.

You can see there’s a great difference between these sets of dialogues.  They certainly apply for your spouse or friends too.  You’ll find more ideas of things to say and not say while apologizing in chapter six of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World.   

Arlene Pellicane

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