If you know me, and we’ve ever had a real conversation about my children, it’s probably come up that over the years, I’ve often had to apologize to them a lot, for a whole host of things. I accepted early on my slim chance of ever attaining mother of any year, and decided instead to simply work with the realities of “me” as a mom–because honestly, it’s really all I have to give anyway. I can admit my truths: I regularly excel as a parent, but, there are some parts of me that aren’t so great.
I yell too much sometimes (I hate that), I’m not the best disciplinarian and I can be inconsistent much (definitely working toward fixing that); plus, my tune out game is ridiculously strong (with five kids I think it’s almost a requirement to cope)! There have also been situations where I’ve wrongly accused (hey, I go by track records, what can I say), and I’m good for refereeing kids’ battles the wrong way (sometimes all of their versions make equal sense?). Add to that the moments when I’ve promised and shouldn’t have, or just completely spoken out of turn, (Them: well you said I could do xyz! Me: Okay, but wait, did you ask me that while I was asleep?”).
I’ve found that I need to be on point at all times when dealing with my kids! But, how can I do that when I’m human, and worse yet, I’m imperfect too? The answer is, I can’t and I accept this about me; still, I need my children to accept this too. That’s why I apologize; to get them to grasp the fact that although I have superpowers (just like all mamas do), my brilliance has limits, like how the Black Panther is at the core, just a man!
Now, make no mistakes– I’m not letting parents or myself, for that matter, off the hook: acknowledgement of shortcomings is not an excuse for such, or a pass for parents not to improve. Both the love for our children, and the pride we should take in ourselves, ought to propel us to be better dads and moms; to make sure they’re an improvement on our mold– because that’s just what makes logical sense.
Even with all that in mind, however, we must remember that parenting is akin to the seasons: just like the earth is rejuvenated by spring, in the same way it’s quelled by the fall, the tides of how we raise our children changes too! No person, place or thing is always good all the time, and as parents, it’s important we know that our imperfections are still an integral part of our best! Nevertheless, they need to be acknowledged, to bring about forgiveness, growth, and hopefully change!
Here are five reasons you may need to apologize to your kids!
- For Choices You made Before They Came! I know it’s what they think, that we came to this earth for the sole purpose of being and was never anything but a parent, but unfortunately our children are wrong. We had lives and an existence before they were even a thought, nonetheless, some decisions “pre-them”, inevitably come home to roost. Our past is not their fault, and it may not necessarily be ours, regardless however, it can mean the world to a child for us to simply just acknowledge and ask forgiveness if it has affected them in a negative way!
- For Not Being the Parent You Should Have Been at Certain Times! Like I mentioned earlier, we all go through seasons in life, in the same vain, parents have periods where they get distracted and drop the ball. Maybe you went through a divorce, had to care for an elderly parent, suffered from and unforeseen illness, or just took too long to mature—there are a myriad of reasons why parents go through periods of being lackluster parents. Apologizing to your kids can do wonders, as opposed to pretending like those times didn’t exist, that your children didn’t notice, or that it didn’t affect them at all. The odds are high that it did!
- For Not Letting Go When You Should Have! I see mothers do this a lot with their boys, but it also happens with daughters too. We fall in love with our children, and rightly so, but sometimes neglect to remember that they weren’t created for us—to be our confidantes, our best friends, our spousal replacements, and around whom we revolve our entire world. Our children come through us, but for the purpose of finding and embarking on their own path. When parents don’t understand this, they have the tendency to cause their children undue pain, a slight for which is good cause to apologize.
- For Pushing Them Out Too Soon! Even good parents succumb to this, which usually presents in the form of making our children grow up too fast. Latchkey kids, children who are forced to take on adult responsibilities, and young adults who are sent out into the world ill-equipped to handle the responsibility it brings, are all examples that fall under this category. If you have put your child in any of these positions, inspite of what might have seemed like good reason, it was unfair– you should apologize for doing so now!
- For all the Things You Can’t or Couldn’t possibly Know!How amazing it would be if all parents, upon the birth of their children (or better yet, before), were given a crystal ball, or an individualized instruction manual for each particular child; that way, we’d know exactly what each one needed and when, who they were/are destined to be, and what pitfalls related to them to avoid! I delivered five babies and not once did I get either—my assumption, if you’re a parent reading this, is that you didn’t as well! We do the best we can (when we can) for our children, and even then it’s sometimes not enough. So, I’ve apologized to my children for the things that I’ve done and will do out of ignorance, because it’s a betrayal of knowledge and not of my heart! My children always nod as if they understand; my earnest prayer is that someday they truly will!
Let us know in the comments what you’ve had to or feel you might need to apologize to your children for. It’s millions of parents out there, so take heart that you aren’t alone!