As caregivers, we strive to do our best for our children every day. But we’re also human, and we make mistakes. When we apologize to our children after making a mistake, we strengthen our bond with them and teach them valuable life lessons.
We’ve all faced moments when our frustration peaks and we end up getting angry and yelling at our children. But there’s a straightforward way to strengthen your relationship with your child after difficult moments: apologize to them. By apologizing, you’re teaching your child the importance of taking responsibility for your actions and that it’s OK to make mistakes. It also helps build trust and respect in your relationship.
To get started, here are a few steps to help you make an impactful apology:
Explain exactly what you’re apologizing for, and accept responsibility for the situation. Stay focused on how you handled the situation. For example, you could say, “I’m sorry I yelled at you about picking up your toys. I shouldn’t have talked to you that way. Next time, I’ll talk to you in a calm voice.”
Talk to your child about their feelings, and ask them to describe how they felt. Then, acknowledge those hurt feelings. This helps your child get used to talking about their emotions in their own words. For example, you could say, “It sounds like you felt scared and sad when I yelled at you. It’s OK to feel those feelings.”
Explain how you plan to react differently next time. This is an important step because you’re also teaching them ways they can stay calm and handle difficult situations. For example, you could say, “Next time I’m feeling upset or angry, I’m going to take three big, deep breaths and calm down before I talk to you.”
It’s not easy to apologize to your child, especially if their behavior led to your frustration. But over time, it will strengthen your relationship and show them how to take responsibility for their own actions.