Do you say sorry to your kids and own up to your mistakes? I wondered about this question, as I made a mistake last week and it turned out to be a great learning opportunity. Saying sorry to my kids is a totally opposite parenting experience than what I grew up with, but I have realized many benefits of this parenting choice. Before we discuss this more, let me first share my story.
Last Thursday morning was pretty regular for us. Hussein, Zeynab and I got up, ate, dressed up and headed out for school. I first drop my son on his preschool days and we wait outside with other families for the teachers to open the doors. I did notice that one boy was wearing a onesie (I attributed that to a usual toddler morning) and that the teacher was wearing warm flannel pants that looked way too comfortable for work (but hey, I would totally do that if I could, so I let it pass). However, when the teacher opened the doors and said “Good morning, welcome to Pajama Day”, I realized my mistake. I had totally forgotten that children were to wear pajamas to preschool that day and could bring a stuffie with them.
The teacher recognized my look and told me that it’s all good. But I felt terrible, plus my children were noticing the other kids and knew that Hussein wasn’t dressed for the day.
I had two options at that point: to blame someone else (maybe the school for not sending a reminder?) or to own up to my mistake and make amends. Since parenting is a never-ending 24/7 role, where children are constantly learning by observing you, I decided to make the best of this occasion to set a good example.
First I said sorry to Hussein and admitted that I had made a mistake by forgetting the day. Then I told him that I will drop Zeynab to school and then go home and bring him his pajamas and stuffie. With a plan agreed upon, I left him at preschool and headed off with Zeynab to her school. After dropping her, I picked Hussein’s favourite Star Wars pajamas and Darth Vader stuffie and took them to his preschool.
At dinner we went over the day and discussed what we had learned that day: mistakes are OK and it’s how we respond that counts.
Do you say sorry to your kids, especially when you did not experience your parents ever say sorry to you? It can be a big learning opportunity! Would love to hear from you.