A few days ago, I said I would write about the importance of apologizing for our mistakes. So here it is!
First off, I want you to think back to a time when someone did something hurtful to you on purpose and didn’t apologize. How did you feel towards this person at the time? How do you feel about them now? Chances are you felt angry towards them at the time, and continue to do so now. You may even resent this person for hurting you and never doing anything to correct it.
Now, have you ever apologized to your child when you’ve done something wrong? If you haven’t, imagine how they feel at the time at the incident. They probably feel sad, anger, confusion, unloved, or resentment. These are all negative emotions that we don’t want to inflict on our children. Or maybe you’ve wanted to apologize for something you had done, but didn’t know what to do or where to start.
Before I even knew about Positive Discipline Parenting, I always made it a priority to apologize to my children when I made mistake. I just never knew there was an actual “coined” phrase for it! In Positive Discipline Parenting, there are the 3 Steps to Recovery for when we make mistakes. The first step is to Recognize the mistake. Take time to process the mistake, and recognize it as something that happened because you lost your cool. Do not blame your child for your mistake.
The second step is Reconcile by apologizing. Go to your child, get down to their level, and speak to them in a calm voice while apologizing for the mistake you made. “I’m sorry that I yelled at you, sometimes Mommy gets angry and yells when I’m stressed. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” Children are quick to forgive.
The third step is Resolve the problem. Work together with your child to find a solution to the problem. What caused you to be stressed? Is there something your child could do to help relieve the stress? Is there something you could have done to prevent the stress? Perhaps the stress was your child being unusually slow putting on their coat. Perhaps next time you could give your child more time to get ready, so they don’t feel so rushed. Or perhaps your child needs to be re-taught how to put on their coat.
Resolving the problem with your child allows both of you to take a step back, and evaluate the problem. Together you work towards a solution, and reconnect. If you do not take time to revisit the problem, the chances are the scenario will re-occur, and your child will feel those negative feelings again.