After the discussion on why to apologize to your kid, it is time to put it into action. So, here we are: How to apologize to your kid.
It is not a child’s play to apologize to your junior version. A casual sorry tossed at the child can do utmost harm than any good. The after-effects of a botched up/slapdash attempt at trying to make up with a child can linger on and create havoc with a child’s and parent’s lives. So, beware and think over before saying sorry. It matters how to apologize to your kid.
As is the case in most aspects, there are 101 ways to screw up apologizing to your kid. However, the correct way is limited to just one. So, here goes the list of don’ts and at the last – a single do to apologize to your kid.
Apologize To Your Kid Personally
There will, normally, not be a tag-team action from the parents to hurt the child. It will be a case of one parent taking a lead in sledging the kid and the other parent trying to douse the fire. The one, who ignites, has the responsibility to put out the blaze with the child.
In the most Indian scenario, the mother tops in frequency at taking it out on the kid but the father does the maximum damage. Now, this is a problem on hand. The Indian culture does not expect the man to clean up the dirty linens he has left behind. So, more often than not, the father behaves like the man that he is and not as a father that he should be. Meaning, he does not apologize to the kid.
I have learnt from my personal experience that the mother apologizing on behalf of the father serves no purpose. I have also learnt that the well-meaning relatives – grandmothers/aunts can apologize as a substitute on behalf of the rampaging father, but again, it is a fruitless exercise with zilch benefits. The accountability to apologize to your kid cannot be outsourced to anyone.
The child has to be apologized to by the parent who has hurt the child. If the offender is a father, he has to learn to be a man – Learn to own up to his child and say sorry.
Do Not Seek Forgiveness
The parent does not know what he/she has made the child go through. There is no way to know what the young mind has endured in the frenzy that the so-called adult has conferred on the poor kid. Limit the damage by expressing regret and don’t try to over-do the repair job.
More often than not, the slinging saga shall be repeated by the parent and the kid will not at all find amusing at the second/third time – the forgiveness drama. The try at generating the positivity vibe is good, but if you are so good, then there would have been no need to apologize in the first place. So, stay put.
A plain vanilla regret to the child will suffice and not an overkill of pity/mercy/amnesty.
To Apologize Is Not A Learning Opportunity For the Kid
Of all the ways and means to screw up an apologizing job, the worst is to treat it as a learning opportunity for the kid. No, it is not. You have made a mistake and hence you have to own up. Do not apologize as a ploy to try and teach a kid the benefits of apologizing, how to apologize etc. To do this is the heights of hypocrisy/pretence from the parent.
If the parent can’t do any good to the child, at least he/she should not further the harm by the apology deceit.
Once An Apology Is Tendered, Give The Child A Break
Ok, great, the parent has apologized to the kid. So, what should the kid do? Jump with joy and hug the parent. Maybe/maybe not. He/she has the right to sulk and be in a bad mood for the time he/she chooses.
Please do not rush the child and expect the regular behaviour to resume ASAP, even if you have apologized. You have not done a great favour to the child by apologizing, you have just done what you brought it upon yourself by shouting at the hapless kid.
You Apologize For Your Behaviour
An apology can go into details/finer points, but limit it to yourself. Do not try to intertwine the child’s behaviour and try to make him/her responsible for what you did. Similarly, do not try to bring in extraneous circumstances as an excuse. This is not called an apology but passing the buck. It is not a nice thing to do.
How To Apologize To Your Kid
As soon as you realize you have hurt your child, immediately and honestly own it up. Say – I am sorry for what I did/said. I have hurt you and I should not have done so. I am sorry.
It is easier said than done. I just keep telling myself that whatever else I do/speak about is going to worsen the situation, so keep quiet and apologize.
What’s your say on how to apologize to your kid?
PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.