Being a dad is the toughest job I’ve ever had. We want to do everything right and set a good example for our kids, but sometimes we mess up. It’s then when we need to remember the power of an apology. Well, a sincere apology.
Apologizing is important. It forces us to acknowledge we are human, we make mistakes, and we can and should be accountable for our actions. It allows us to model owning our shortcomings. and that as long as we can own up to our errors, our kids see that it’s okay to make mistakes. When we apologize, we’re teaching our kids to be honest and take responsibility for their actions, too.
Apologizing also helps us build trust with our kids. It shows them that we care about their feelings and that we’re willing to work to make things better. And when there’s a conflict, apologizing is the first step towards finding a solution. The challenge is that there has to actually be a solution.
But just saying “sorry” isn’t enough. It also involves a degree of behavioral change with a meaningful effort towards preventing the same mistakes from happening again. Apologizing is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Not only do we need to say we are sorry, but we demonstrate that by making an effort to change.
I know it can be hard to admit when we’re wrong, especially to our kids. But it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. We can help our kids understand why we’re apologizing and give them the time and space they need to process their feelings. It might be even more mucky if whatever you “did” was in response to something hurtful your child did. Two wrongs don’t make a right, as the old saying goes, and all you can really control is yourself.
So, let’s remember that apologizing is an important part of being a good dad. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it in the end. Your kids may not accept your apology directly, and that may be part of the consequence of making a mistake. Be real, own your errors, try to fix them, and work on continually trying to make yourself better. Life, especially parenting, is about growth and learning. Embrace the learning opportunity, no matter how difficult, and make yourself a better parent/dad.