Being a parent is hard. As I always say, we are imperfect parents trying to raise imperfect kids in an imperfect world. With no handbook or guide to see us through. With every kid being so different from the next. And even with our own emotions and frustrations getting in the way.
My kids, they mess up a lot. They often do what they want when I know they heard what I asked them to do. They argue with each other and say mean things. They disobey me from time to time. Sometimes, they're even rude and disrespectful. They get punished for it all, in some way or another, because it's my job as a parent to make sure I'm raising good boys. Good boys that I pray will eventually become good, respectful, honorable men.
But what about me? Do I mess up? Sure. Do I lose my temper and yell when I shouldn't? Yep. Do I say things that might be hurtful to my little people? Mmmhmm. Where's my punishment? Do I get pulled aside and spanked? Or a time-out or my computer or phone taken away? Nope. I can just move on from my mistakes, right?
I honestly don't think that's right. I want my kids to know that while I am doing my utmost best for them, I have and will continue to mess up. Being a parent does not make you perfect. And if my kids grow up thinking that they have perfect parents, or at least parents who pretend to be, how will that affect them? Mom gets mad at me for yelling at my brother, but then she turns around and yells at me? That doesn't make sense! And who knows the implications of this? Distrust in us. Maybe some anger and hurt feelings bent up inside. Maybe a relationship that continues to grow apart throughout the years.
Whatever it is, I have decided to apologize to my kids when I wrong them. I don't do it every time either, because of forgetting or being too busy, but I want it to be something I do. I am still the boss in my house, along with my husband. It doesn't lessen our authority. In fact, I think it might reinforce it a bit. It hopefully will help them see that everyone messes up, and that's okay. But no matter who you are, you aren't too big to apologize.
Here's how I do it and how I expect/train my kids to apologize to each other:
I am sorry for yelling at you.
Next time, I will take a deep breath and calm down before I speak.
Will you forgive me?
Hopefully this mends a little of the hurt in their hearts from me yelling. Hopefully this allows them to see that I'm not perfect, I'm aware of it, and I'm acknowledging my mistakes. It also shows them that everyone messes up, and that's okay. It's how we deal with it afterwards that matters.
This is a recent thoughtful addition to our parenting, and although I might have done it in the past, I hadn't done it thoughtfully. This post was inspired by RewireMe.com — a community for inspiration and encouragement for us on our journey!