Everyday Parenting

“Should parents apologize when they are wrong?”

All of us are wrong some of the time. Still, many of us have the opinion that we are always right. Though we can be right some of the time, no one is right all of the time. Each one of us makes mistakes from the child to the adult. No one is perfect and we all could use improvement.

Many parents project a feeling of superiority over their children. They act as if they are perfect yet their children seem to never live up to their expectations. These parents have a hard time apologizing because in their opinion they never feel like they are wrong. This can be very hard for children when parents are quick to point out the mistakes that they make yet never admit to their own. This can weigh heavy on a child as they begin to feel like they will just never be good enough.

When a parent refuses to admit that they are wrong it is not showing their strength but actually their own weaknesses. Defensive people generally are very insecure about their own abilities and take comfort in pointing out others misgivings. With this model, the parent is actually teaching the child that defensive remarks are the way that they should respond to any criticism they ever receive. These types of lessons will harm your child later on in life in their own adult relationships. Being defensive pushes people apart instead of helping them solve problems and working together.

When a parent makes a mistake and they realize it, the response is simple, “I’m sorry.” There is no shame in apologizing or admitting you are wrong when you have made a mistake. Acknowledging this to your child will not only make your child feel secure and valued, but also will set the example for the type of for responses you would like for them to give you and others.

A good apology can be so much more than just saying that you are sorry, it can be a showing of love, trust and how much you value the relationship. Let your child know what it is exactly that you are sorry about. Acknowledge how your mistake might have made them feel, and to be sincere when you realize you are wrong. You would be surprised how powerful and honest apology really can be. Not only is it a positive skill to teach your child, but can also heal wounds that have been inflicted even without being completely aware how deep they are.



  • Mike Bourgeois on May 15, 2015

    As a father of five girls, ranging in age from 3 to 19, I can proudly say I’ve apologized on more than one occasion. I can’t imagine there are people out there who would not say they’re sorry to their child for wrongfully yelling at them. Sometimes while in a bad mood, I might get overly excited about something that I normally wouldn’t get hot headed over. And I ALWAYS make sure I tell my kids I’m sorry for being that way. I also offer them a reason, not to give a lame excuse, but for them to understand that we can all be grumpy at times and it’s perfectly normal to be so.


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