“Each day, we have the opportunity to learn something new, apologize for our mistakes, and become better.” ~ Lewis Howes
One tidbit I have learned from becoming a mommy three-fold: apologizing shows your children that mistakes will be made. No one is perfect, but we can exhibit remorse and try to make up for our behavior and strive to do better than before.
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Embracing our flaws has become something of a mantra to me along my parenting path. As I write this, my daughter sips my coffee and my other one slaps my arm after a nap trying to get my sleeve (or the keys probably seems more likely).
Let me set the stage:
Our days are hectic, chaotic, and sometimes downright a mess. However, that beautiful craze is ours and I hold on to the moments that roll together nicely and choose to focus on those. Once out of about six times, I can count on my kiddos hearing me and actually doing what they were asked in the manner in which I asked. “Please clean up your toys so we can let the dogs in to eat.” becomes “Throw half the toys in a box and the other half on the coffee table so they’re not on the floor. Put them where they belong whenever, or never, that’s fine.” “Talk to your sister while I finish folding clothes.” turns into “Yell-sing in her general direction while not making eye-contact so I can have double the noise while finishing laundry.” Seems legit.
BUT, among some of those moments, I lose my sh*t.
Sometimes I can laugh it off and remind them that their version of my request took a turn. And other times, I simply can’t. My limit was reached and I boil over and say “You kidding me?” Then, when situations have dissipated and calmed down a bit, I can look at how everything transpired.
Misinterpretations happen. I have listened to my son and had to walk through steps to actually get to what he was explaining. My directions may be just as unclear to their ears.
So, I apologize in those situations.
Were you trying to tell me this? Fair enough. Did I get a little worked up because you chose to do the bare minimum of what I asked? Mmhmm. That still does not mean I should have reacted in the way that I did.
In my apologizing, I always include these 5 steps:
State the reason I’m apologizing.
This ensures that my children know that I’m acknowledging the mistake and remember that moment themselves. I apologized yesterday for not helping my daughter pull up her pants fast enough after pottying which caused her to try to walk to me and fall into the wall. Oops.
Get on their level.
If I’m towering over them and apologizing from above, the likelihood that they feel that “sorry” diminishes. The goal is to teach them the importance of being empathetic and sympathetic to the way they felt.
Look them in the eyes.
I want my children to know that apologizing needs to be sincere and heartfelt. No distractions, no saying it in passing, etc.
Express what I will do differently.
For the example of yesterday, I told my daughter I should have gotten there sooner and will next time (which I followed through on). Explaining that I will try to improve and work on being part of the solution means they will see that and emulate that in their experiences (hopefully, anyway).
Give them a hug.
Once I finish, I always give my kiddos a hug. I mean, any excuse for a hug or a cuddle is a big YES for me. However, I feel like this solidifies the apology, provides them comfort, and a little touch of “I love you” thrown in for good measure.
I could probably also add an actionable point of asking them what they think we could do in the future to prevent the moment from happening again, now that I am walking through my own steps. Always try to be better, right? What are your thoughts about apologizing? I would LOVE to have your input!
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