Sorry isn’t the hardest word:

Why I always say sorry to my children

Boys looking at a peacockI am almost certain that all parents will have been here: I’m stacked up with laundry, have tripped over a fluffy toy and consequently trodden on Lego. Almost instantly a little face appears as if from nowhere and drawls “Mammmaaaaa” in the sort of high-pitched whine that shoots straight through to my internal blood pressure monitor. They’re met with a short, sharp “what?” and whatever words were going to follow disappear. Maybe they’re no longer important or maybe the pin that has punctured my little one’s balloon has also sent a tremor through their confidence. Whatever the reason, I carry on with the laundry and they go back to what they were doing.

The reality is that everyone in a family needs to learn to use their eyes and ears to support each other. To understand each other, learn empathy and respect. These skills are basic building blocks of positive familial or social relationships. I feel that my children need to learn, just like my parents taught me, when is a good time to make a request, for example.

So perhaps my “what?” is not entirely misplaced. The irritable tone with which it is delivered is most likely linked to an immediate mood of annoyance. So arguably that is also not out of place.

But I say sorry.

Always. Whether it’s this sort of situation or any other where my patience is short or my tone is sharp. I know not all people will agree, and everyone parents differently, but there is a reason behind my apology.

Pause for a moment and tip the situation on its head. My child is in their little bubble, playing. They need something. Perhaps they are playing with Lego and one of their brothers has used the last blue brick of a certain size that they can find and they would like help in looking for another. Perhaps they’re wondering when lunch is. Perhaps they would like to go into the garden. What I can be certain of is that they didn’t see me struggling with the laundry, tripping over a toy and stepping on Lego. They did not time their “Mammmaaaaa” deliberately to coincide with that and cause any annoyance. So I need to say sorry. And I do.

Boys running through parklandI say that I’m sorry for being snappy, and I explain in a careful and gentle manner why their interjection at that particular moment in time made me feel irritated. I try to help them to understand. To help them to learn. To read signals in a safe family environment that will set them up for their future life.

I anticipate that there will be several more “Mammmaaaaas” over the months and possibly even years to come but I hope that me saying sorry and having that conversation with them will support them with their learning as they develop from very young children into kind and respectful adults. That it will model the type of behaviour that I expect from them. It feels easy as a parent to insist that they say sorry when they make a mistake, so why should I not do the same when the mistake sits at my feet?

Don’t get me wrong, in all of this I would never expect them to behave as mini adults now. But much like minding manners or being kind, I would never demand that they apologise for their mistakes if I do not. That is not my parenting style. My boys are free spirited independent children who are enjoying their childhood. Our family life is overflowing with love and consideration and I hope that if I always explain things to them, if I model appropriate behaviour and respect them, say sorry to them when I need to, then I will help to reinforce those key values. And if that means more “Mammmaaaaas” along the way then I’m cool with that.

Sorry isn't the hardest word

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Tales From Mamaville

 

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11th April 2018

34 comments

I think this is bang on. I always apologised and explained where I was coming from – I started when my kiddies were quite young and still do it to my grown kids today. It makes so much sense. Children need to know parents aren’t perfect – we all make mistakes and have feelings. You are also teaching them to consider others from their point of view – all very important x

Thank you Maria. Yes, exactly, none of us are perfect and it feels important to share that range of human nature with little ones.

Sorry is a very important word. I always make sure that I say it to my children when due because I want them to learn its importance and also because it shows they matter enough for me to say sorry when it is called for. #blogstravaganza

Yes, exactly this 🙂

I think it is a good example to set for your kids. Parents are not perfect. It is ok to be human. #blogstravaganza

Thank you and yes, very true, none of us are perfect.

I am so rubbish at saying sorry, although, when it comes to Freddie if I have done something wrong I will always apologise. In fact if I don’t he will say mummy have you got something to say to me!!! Haha! In fact its normally after I’ve shouted at him for being naughty. But I hate shouting and I will always apologise for it. #blogstavagnsa

Oh bless him that’s sweet!

Yes! I will always apologise when I’ve been snappy or said something wrong. It’s so important. #blogstravaganza

I always say sorry to my kids when I’ve snapped at them as I hope it helps them realise that they too should say it when they do something wrong. #blogstravaganza

Indeed. I think it’s an important way to build an honest and open relationship with my boys.

I do tend to appologise for my “what” they just seem to shout it just when I am trying to get that one job finished. I do say sorry and explain mummy was just doing xxx and are they ok #Blogstravaganza

Always the way isn’t it? Or the minute I pick the phone up and I end up giving them a big frown. We have had some good conversations around manners and expectations as a result though! Mine included 😉

I agree. I always say sorry if I am snappy or if I misunderstood their intentions and perhaps told them off unnecessarily. I think if I can’t treat them with respect how can I expect them to be respectful to me or others #blogstravanganza

That’s exactly it. Model the behaviour that you would like to be learnt.

Can’t tell you how much I love this post Jo. I can so relate to it, and I’m happy to admit I apologise to my 4.5 year-old as well. Much more than he does to me, in fact:( Like you rightly said, it’s important they learn that everyone is an equal in a family, and they should be respected too. It also helps them realise that admitting one’s mistake and apologising isn’t a bad thing.
#itsok

Thank you Nicole, what a lovely comment! Yes, I hope to model good and respectful behaviour to them to help them learn as much as because it feels like the right thing to do if I make a mistake.

I think apologising to our children, when we have been in the wrong, is so important. It teaches them that not only are we all human, but also that saying sorry doesn’t have to be difficult. Fabulous post as always fellow #Blogstravaganza host! xx

Thank you lovely! Yes, I hope that by apologising when necessary I will lay the foundations for an open and honest relationship with them now and in the future xx

This is such a fantastic post Jo. A friend of mine once told me that the best advice her own Mum had ever given her was to never apologise to her kids and show that weakness. We (respectfully) argued about it for weeks before deciding to agree to disagree. I don’t believe there’s much we can teach our kids without modelling it ourselves, and owning your mistakes and embracing your imperfections is just one of those things. Thanks so much for linking up with #itsok

Thanks for your comment, I’ve heard that before as well. Although I can’t say for sure that my approach is the best one, it does suit our family and I do believe that it sets a good example for my boys, along with demonstrating that we are all human and can make mistakes.

Totally agree! We always make an effort to apologise if we have snapped. Respect is earned not given. Behaviours are learned and we are their teachers. I am not a perfect mum by any stretch and when life gets busy as it so often does I know I get tetchy and snap. But manners, courtesy and kindness go along way. #Blogstravaganza

Yes, this is exactly it. I’m not perfect, but I strive to set a positive example to my boys and model what I consider to be appropriate behaviour.

I always say sorry and admit what I’ve done wrong and how I should have behaved so that they can see making mistakes is normal and it is how you deal with them that matters more than what you did #blogstravaganza

Yes. We all make mistakes but you’re right, it’s how they’re dealt with that is often the bigger issue.

This is where the mum guilt can be all consuming. Having felt that the tv was made a priority over listening to me as a child I vowed always to put my girls first but sometimes the computer can suck me in! #Blogstravaganza

The computer sucks me in too. I am trying to find a better balance but it’s not always easy!

I do always apologise if I know I’ve been snappy unreasonably . If I’m busy or stressed and do the ‘what’ you speak of that is so familiar #blogstravaganza

It’s easily done, but for me it’s about sharing my apology with them, which I hope also provides a good example to them for later life.

I love this. You are very true and we do need to apologise as we would make our children if they were in the wrong #blogstravaganza

Thank you. Yes I think it’s important to act as a role model in these sorts of situations.

Yes I am totally with you on this. I always say sorry to my children when I have made a mistake – it shows that I respect them and that I do not think I am above reproach. My mum was brilliant (a much better mum than me in many ways) but she never seemed to be able to say sorry to me and that is something that I used to struggle with as a child when I felt like the blame was always placed on me.

And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge. #blogcrush

I agree. I think it’s hard as a child when you feel guilt and don’t always understand why. Having an adult say sorry to you and open up a conversation about whatever the situation might be helps everyone to learn together. Thanks for the featured badge too! It is proudly displayed on my side bar 🙂

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