Two simple words, “I’m sorry”, from a parent to a child, have a monumental impact on a child and yet the parent apology is rare. Many parents don’t realize the importance of apologizing to their child. They also don’t believe they need to apologize. It’s not part of our culture for adults to admit wrong doing to children, even when it’s obvious they are at fault. In reality, when a parent apologizes to a child, it further cements the parent-child relationship and provides the child with a sense of safety and well-being.
When parents apologize they are instilling a value system and a belief that it’s okay to be human and therefore imperfect. They are role modeling accountability. They are demonstrating that taking action to accept responsibility after a mistake is more important than the mistake itself. They are living the old adage “it's not whether you make a mistake, it’s how you handle that mistake”.
Parents’ ability to acknowledge mistakes and accept responsibility for actions is imperative in helping their children to do the same. Parents who recognize their own shortcomings teach their children these very important lessons:
When parents overcome their fear of apologizing and say “I’m sorry” to their child, they give their child a gift of freedom to make mistakes.