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Have you ever contemplated apologising to your child? Should you at all? Read on to find out the answer to your dilemma.
You must have told your child umpteen times to apologize whenever he did something wrong. And, at times, you would have considered apologizing to your child after having wronged her. But, the next moment you wonder if it is a good idea at all. So, what held you back from apologizing to your child?
Let's delve a little deeper into the issue to understand it better and find the answer to the question, 'Should parents apologize to their kids?'
Humans arent perfect, and all of us, at times, say or do something hurtful. An apology is all about acknowledging our mistake, asking for forgiveness, and assuring that we won't repeat our mistake.
Offering a sincere apology conveys the fact that we recognize and accept our mistake, and feel sorry for it. It also helps to mend the relationship and establish the fact that we care for and empathize with the individual we have wronged.
Some individuals are uncomfortable with tendering an apology. This could be for various reasons such as not wanting to admit they were wrong, not wanting to accept the responsibility, or feeling embarrassed.
"Parents find it difficult to apologize as ego often comes in the way," says Aparna Samuel Balasundaram. "They also feel that the child might take advantage of the situation. In fact, for autocratic parents, apologizing to the child is unthinkable," she explains.
Parents do owe their children an apology at times. For instance, saying things in anger hurts or scars a child emotionally. According to Ms. Aparna, "When you say something in a fit of anger, it does not come from a loving space. Even your body language and tone can seem threatening. This could result in shaming the child and making him feel small. Therefore, parents would do well to recognize this anger."
Another instance when you should apologize to your child is if you hit or physically punish her. For, if you don't apologize after such an act, your child may begin to think that these behaviors are acceptable when they really aren't. "The child might repeat these actions himself, or there is also the possibility of allowing himself to be bullied or hit outside the home," Ms. Aparna points out. "However, it is okay if you jerk your child or assert to him loudly when he is in imminent danger, like when he puts his hands into an electrical socket, for instance," she adds.
Interestingly, there are instances when you don't need to apologize to your child at all. For example, you shouldn't apologize when your child is trying to bargain - putting down conditions and you stand firm. "She must realize that she cannot hold you captive in situations like these," says Ms. Aparna. "Don't apologize for issues like not buying her unnecessary things that you can't or won't, not going on an expensive vacation, or throwing her a fancy party," she suggests.
A genuine apology from a parent is always a learning experience for children. The parent models for their children how to make an apology, and to take responsibility for their actions. The ability to apologize helps a child maintain relationships as well as repair a broken relationship.