Being a parent does not equal being perfect, quite the opposite. Many times, when we disagree with our children it is because we are not tuned into their psychological needs. We are sometimes overconfident in our own abilities and do not spend the required time and energy to really get to know our child. As parents we forget that our child grows up in a generation very different from our own and faces problems which we may not have necessarily dealt with. There is a saying that “There’s nothing new under the sun,” I believe in this saying, but there are new ways of getting the same results and new ways to experience the same issues. Social media is a clear example that is different between my childhood and my children’s. How would I have dealt with getting bullied from thousands of strangers at once from all around the city or the world? This is something I could not have fathomed as a child. Please take a moment to honestly evaluate how you are approaching your parenting and ask yourself, “Are there things I hoped to do better than my parents did, and is apologizing one of those things?”
There is a major issue with a parent who cannot admit to themselves and to their kids that they may have been mistaken about something. When it comes to admitting our faults, we apply what is called counter-intuitive thinking to excuse and convince ourselves that we should not admit when we are wrong. We feel it is better to sweep it under the rug, or just ignore it altogether, when in fact the opposite is more effective. It takes a strong, selfless, respectful, and loving person to admit when we are wrong and to ask for forgiveness. By allowing our children to see us admit when we are wrong, we gain respect and credibility for when we are right. Our children deserve the same respect we demand! We all acknowledge nobody is perfect, so we need to stop acting like we are the exception to that rule.
I challenge every parent reading this to write a letter to each of your children. This can be a physical letter, a text or email. Find something that you would like to apologize for, even if it is something you all have not dealt with in a while. Point out areas where you made mistakes and let them know that their feelings matter as well. Do not try to justify your actions, just give them your empathy. End the letter saying how you will try to be more understanding and add a positive quality that you admire about them. Let’s start speaking life into our children and teaching them that mistakes are part of life, even as a parent. Teach them that mistakes can make you better if you can admit to them and learn from them. Life is a journey…never stop learning.