The day I learned to apologize to my kids was the day I became a better mother. Parents have limits, good days and bad days. I often apologize to my kids when I am short tempered or if I misjudge a situation. I do my best and that’s all I can do. Some days I could win awards for parenthood, others I don’t. One thing for sure is that everyday I try my very best. In the end, that’s all we can expect of ourselves, our children and our partners. So, when you figure out that you did something wrong, lower your stress by saying, “I am sorry”, learning your lessons and then moving on. Here’s some tips to help you along.
The Power of Apologizing
Parents who can apologize to their children when they make a mistake, teach their children that it’s okay to be wrong, admit it, learn from it and move on. There’s a lot of emphasis in our society on perfection. It is not only over rated but detrimental as well. An apology should always be sincere, carefully thought through, and provide a clear explanation of why the wrong-doing happened.
Develop Your Own Sense of Self Apart From Your Family
As our children grow from infants to mini-adults, the opportunities for wrong interpretations increase each year. As a parent, it’s very hard not to take things personally. As a child, our parents judgements invalidate our sense of self and feed our insecurities. It’s a breeding ground for a vicious circle of disagreements and stress. It’s important to work on your sense of identity apart from other members of your family. When we are too dependent on others for our sense self-worth, we open ourselves up for dependency and disappointment. Make time for yourself, and find ways to foster yourself in your career, friendships, hobbies and goals.
Sleep on It
It is always best to move away from a situation, process it and then make a plan on how you should proceed. If we try to communicate when we are still reactive, often the situation will escalate. Anger and embarrassment fuels poor communication. Move away, write down how you feel, go for a walk, and if at all possible wait until you are completely calm to approach the other person. You will find it easier to apologize and fix any misunderstanding.
Don’t Take Things Personally
It is so hard not to take things personally, especially as a parent. Remind yourself that each person, even your child, has their own unique path and mistakes to make and learn from. Their decisions are about them, not us. We are mere guides in a way, not puppet masters. Let them say, “potahto”, even if you like to say, “potato”. Embracing the differences between parent and child helps reduce parental stress.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Mistakes are opportunities for learning. They help us grow into a better more informed person. I see them as tools not liabilities. When I would go on job interviews, I used to ask potential employers how they viewed mistakes in the workplace. Mistakes are not as important, as your attitude towards them.
The last step is letting go. Once the situation has passed, the lesson has been learned, and the apology is given, it is time to move on. Embracing your humanity, flaws and potential for learning, helps you to become the person you want to be. A new chapter is an opportunity for new experiences, emotions and life lessons.
Want more tips on reducing your stress? Read 10 Ways to Decrease Stress.
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