Q&A Should I apologize to my children?

Every week we want to address a question that you might have about raising your boys and girls. Feel free to leave questions in the comments for us to pick from every week! Let's get started!

Is it important that I apologize to my children?

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We would ask you the same question, another way.  Would you have wanted your parents to apologize to you?  In our parenting seminars, we talk about how we live in a culture where we teach children to succeed but not to fail.  This is a tragic omission because we know and they do, as well, or will soon--that we all fail.  As they move toward adolescents, they become even more keenly aware of your failures.  (They're actually even more aware of theirs, but they'd rather focus on yours so they don't have to feel bad about themselves).  In light of that, we would say a resounding yes.  Your children need you to apologize.  They need to know that part of the rhythm of life is that we fail, we ask forgiveness, and then we keep going.  For you to apologize teaches them that you value your relationship and that you fail, at times, too.  It will help them accept their own failures and feel validated and important to you.  

Children also need to know that you are stronger than they are (we'll come back to this in a later blog).  As in everything, balance is key.  If you find yourself apologizing too much, as in daily, it may be helpful to talk to someone about why.  It might be that you are struggling and not able to be who you want to be as a parent and talking to a trusted spouse, friend, or even counselor could help free you to parent differently.  Or it could be that you're just worried you're not doing things right.  The truth is that you won't.  The mercy and grace is that you won't.  But God will.  He is the perfect parent.  And the truth and connection you share with your children is much more important than your perfection as a parent.