As parents, we all experience times when we wish we could take back something we said or did. You may notice, too, that these moments tend to happen more frequently - and more intensely - during times of increased stress, when you are over tired, or simply trying to do too many things at once. So how should you handle it when you've done or said something you regret? Use this five-step plan to apologize to your kids:
- Replay the scene in your mind.
- Try to see it from your child's point of view.
- Imagine what it felt like to your child.
- Think through what you could have done differently.
- Communicate steps 1-4 to your child.
- In particular, spend a lot of time on step number three, so that you can communicate your apology with genuine compassion.
- Invite your child to share with you how he or she is feeling.
- Talk together about how you will prevent the same mistake from happening in the future.
- Share your experience with another parent who can help you to be accountable to following through on what you have promised to your child.
- Finally, be forgiving of yourself, too. We're all human, and one of the things that makes you a great parent is your willingness to grow and learn from your mistakes.