Raising children is a complex job, and it honestly takes a lot of unlearning what we’ve been taught or how we were raised to do the job right. And in many cases, it takes approaching the job with an open mind and heart to get it right.
Growing up, at least in my generation, grown-ups were pretty much always right. Even when they weren’t, I wasn’t holding my breath for an apology when the adults got it wrong, because even when they were wrong, they were the adult. I suspect this is because they were also raised in this way, and the cycle just kept repeating. Don’t get me wrong, the adults who raised me did the best job they could, but much like anything else, there was room for improvement.
As an adult and parent now, I have worked diligently to make sure I am empathetic and that I treat my children with respect. Part of that includes apologizing when I am wrong. And to be honest, I am wrong quite often. If you are like me and came from a different parenting style growing up, it can be hard to shake those generational curses off. But, I am telling you, there are many benefits to apologizing when you are wrong. Here are 7.
1. You are teaching them to take responsibility for their actions.
When you say you are sorry and admit you are wrong, you are teaching your child that it’s important to take responsibility for your actions. On the other hand, if you stand by your bad actions/decisions, your child will always make excuses and never be able to admit when they are wrong. Children pay attention to how we act and react towards them and eventually, that is how they will speak to others and even themselves.
2. You are teaching your child they can trust you.
It might not be easy to admit you are wrong, but by doing so, you are teaching your kids they can trust you. When you tell them to do something moving forward or say something to them, they will have faith that it’s the right thing and that if it isn’t, you will correct yourself. And there’s a lot of comfort in that.
3. You teach them how to apologize.
Our kids pay attention to how we speak to them. When you refuse to apologize, they never learn how to apologize and admit when they are wrong. So, when you take the extra effort to do that, it’s far more likely they will end up learning how to apologize to others.
4. You are paving the way for healthier relationships for them in life.
When people never let go of their ego and learn to accept responsibility for their actions, that will ultimately end up leeching into their future relationships. On one hand, they may let people run all over them because that was the dynamic of their parent/child relationship. Conversely, they may end up running all over everyone else.
5. They learn how to forgive.
Forgiveness is a major lesson that we learn. And there is truly a right way and a wrong way. When this is taught early on (because you ask for their forgiveness instead of insisting that you are right) you are teaching them a valuable lesson.
6. You are showing them they deserve respect.
Respect is taught through our interactions with our kids. Please, if you don’t want your child to be a welcome mat that gets trampled all over, teach them that they are worthy of respect. Part of respect is admitting when you have done someone wrong.
7. You are demonstrating that it’s okay to make mistakes.
When you insist that you are right, even when you are wrong, the message you send is quite clear: I don’t make mistakes. What lesson is that to teach your child? Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are learning tools that help us to grow. So, please let your child know that everyone makes mistakes and mistakes are a-ok.