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I am a firm supporter of the school of thought that says that you should most definitely apologize to your kids when you have done wrong. There are so many reasons why this is beneficial, however, there are also times when you should NOT apologize to your child.

First and foremost, if you have done something wrong, it’s so important to suck it up and own your mistake. When you do, you are teaching your child to take responsibility for their actions, which is a very important lesson. However, when you are apologizing too much and for the wrong things, your children will lose respect for you. But, you will end up giving your child the idea that you are always at fault when you correct them or push them to do something they need to do, but may not like to do.

Much like anything, there is a right and a wrong time to apologize to your child.

Here are 4 times you should NOT apologize:

1. When your child is upset because they didn’t get what they wanted or expected.

Children can sometimes become distressed because things are not the way they want or expect them to be. For example, if you don’t cut the crust perfectly from their sandwich, and they begin throwing a tantrum, it’s a terrible time to apologize. Why? When you apologize, you are sending the message to your child that they have been wronged, because you didn’t give them exactly what they wanted. Ultimately, this will hinder your child from being flexible, and that someone will make it better when something happens they don’t like. This isn’t the way the world works.

2. When you did not cross a line.

It’s good to apologize when you have gone too far. For example, if you yelled and screamed at your child, it is good to say that you are sorry for how you reacted. But, if you simply got onto your child for doing something they shouldn’t have been doing, and you didn’t cross a line-do not apologize. When you do, you are sending the message that you are in the wrong any time you reprimand them.

3. When your child is being unreasonable.

If you are in the store and your child wants the most expensive toy, and you say no, and they commence throwing a tantrum, crying, or sulling up, you may be tempted to say, “I’m sorry.” Or apologize for not giving in to their demands. Instead, you should stand by your decision and explain that it’s just not within your capability to give them what they want.

4. When it’s not your place to apologize.

When someone disappoints your child, you may be tempted to apologize on behalf of that person. However, it is not your place or responsibility to apologize for someone else’s actions. It’s perfectly normal to sympathize and empathize with your child and be there for them. But, it’s necessary to let go of the need to control the conflict between your child and others. It’s not your place.