Parents sometimes hesitate to apologize to their kids for these reasons.
We’re not perfect parents but, we try our best to be. From the cooking, cleaning, managing finances, every little detail at home is under extreme scrutiny. But managing all that can be stressful especially if we have the tendency to micromanage. Suddenly, all that stress just crashes down and we lash out. Unfortunately, our kids get caught in the crossfire. We were taught at a young age that we should apologize for all our mistakes. But why then do parents have a hard time apologizing to their kids?
1. We fear confrontation
Instead of apologizing to our kids explicitly, we instead do acts of service. It avoids the pain and stress of confrontation especially when kids are more emotionally mindful. We’re afraid to hear all the hateful and agonizing things our kids will call us out for, to the point it may make our happy memories with them seem pointless. The best way to keep those happy memories is actually to validate that we caused them pain. Doing so helps them process and learn how to process their own emotions when they’re about to blow the emotional gasket.
2. Our parents probably never apologized to us when we were kids
Mental health wasn’t a big thing years ago. So for many of us, our parents probably justified their rage more than apologized. Today, we probably understand the reason behind their rage. But, it doesn’t change that it left some lasting effects. As kids, we learned to mimic their behavior and not all of them are good. It’ll take years of unlearning and also acknowledging that as a kid once, we didn’t want to be yelled at. That way, we can be the parent our kids deserve and need.
3. We rationalize, “It’s discipline!”
Oftentimes, parents mix rage with discipline. But discipline occurs best when our emotions match the degree of mistake. Although, it’s hard for us to catch because we’re more prone to reacting than acting especially after a long day. When this occurs, we have to be the ones to practice empathy. See our rage from our child’s eyes. Was it equal to the mistake done? Or, was it just us unleashing stress on an unfortunate target? If the answer to the first question is “no” then, apologizing to our kids is the best way to go.
4. We’re not patient enough to sit down and process
Life goes on and our feelings that we’re stuck in a rat race or in survival mode can really eat away our patience. Especially if we’re working at home or running a business, we tell ourselves that we don’t have time to do that with our kids. But we know that’s the essential part of parenthood. Being patient enough to sit down with them and process things will also stop our kids from keeping secrets or lying because they’ll see you as someone who makes them feel safe.
5. We’re emotionally-drained ourselves
We forget that as parents, we’re also human. Our being parents sometimes makes us demand a high standard of ourselves and with some expectations mismanagement, can emotionally drain us. Because of this, our self-esteem can drop, and sometimes, we just end up blaming our kids out of frustration. When that happens, we have to make sure our kids understand that we didn’t mean to blame them. As parents, we have to show our kids that we’re capable of apologizing. They won’t love us any less when we make a mistake. They want us to practice what we preach which is to own up to our mistakes.
6. We expect common sense
Common sense unfortunately is uncommon. But we sometimes demand that from our family members, mostly from our kids. We expect our kids sometimes to understand what we want without us telling them. But our kids are still learning so, what’s common to us may not be common to them. This is why common sense should never be the reason why parents shouldn’t apologize to their kids.
Perfection’s over-rated; especially for parenting!
Parenting does not come with a college course let alone a handbook. That’s why we’re prone to making mistakes and just like we’ve learned and preached, we ought to show our kids that we can take responsibility for our mistakes. Although we know more than our kids, sometimes, our kids’ insights can really help us to become the parent they need. And the best way to learn these things is when we make a mistake, apologize and learn from them what we can do to be better moms and dads to them.