Making mistakes as a parent is an inevitable part of the journey. In fact, a recent survey found that the average parent will make 4,000 parenting mistakes in the first 18 years of his child’s life. That might sound like a lot to you. That might sound like not very much. Either way, know that you are not alone in worrying about the mistakes you’re making with your kids.
I think fathers can be particularly hard on themselves in this area, especially if you are away at work all day while Mom stays home or you aren’t around as much as Mom is. You have less time with your child and want to make the most of it. Instead, you feel like you blow it by getting angry and yelling, or by missing an event, or by not handling a conversation with your teen daughter in the right way.
As parents, we can hurt our kids with our words and actions. That’s unavoidable, but you don’t have to feel helpless or paralyzed by guilt afterward. You can repair the damage you’ve done, and you don’t have to buy your child gifts or “make it up to them.” Simply talk to them. Here’s how.
First, own the Guilt.
One of the hardest things for a parent to do is admit to really hurting our children. It’s easier to simply believe that what we did wasn’t so bad. This is the worst thing you can do. Own up to hurting your child deeply. If you pretend your actions didn’t hurt that badly, your children will feel that you aren’t sincere.
Ask for forgiveness and be specific while doing so.
It is important to tell your child that you are sorry, but don’t stop there. Ask him to forgive you for what you did. And don’t be vague. If you said something mean, follow up with, “Please forgive me for calling you _____.” Being specific is important to a child because it lets him know that you really understand how wrong you were and how much you hurt him.