Should Parents Apologize to Their Children?

Spit happens in families, in fact spit gets flung onto ceilings, walls, faces…

Even when a parent does something “wrong”, their moral foundation is deeply rooted. Experience earned rings in their bark, be it rotten or not. As mere saplings, why do we sometimes feel entitled to hear apologies from our parents?

The truth is, we don’t need the apology. Anyone can say “I’m sorry”, and overusing the sentiment is as wicked as never using it. What we need is the acknowledgement of wrong; the validation of our emotions.

Children are worthy of acknowledgement like parents are worthy of honour. My problems are much unlike my parents’ at the same age. Loom in my glossary is an unwashed blazer before work, or rice when I asked for quinoa. Mom and dad fled a scene of tomahawk missile strikes and true hunger, but should that negate my stressors?

Call them “first world problems”, fine. But millennials also have first world aspirations that are intangible, like love, justice and internet.

Here’s the disconnect between parents and their young. Generation X loves material, and quality is measured through the five senses. Millennials emphasize branding. We care more about the campaign and the underlying message, and good brands convey their message with good packaging.

Sounds like a tangential thought, but bear with me. On the surface, “I’m sorry” can be reminiscent of a flimsy plastic wrapper. Children do not need this from their parents. We’ll see right through it.

Go through the motions with your upset child. Let them vent without interruption. When they’re finished, gently reach for their hand. Bow your head, take a deep breath, then finally say, “I love you”.

So, to answer the question: no. Parents shouldn’t apologize to their children. However, parents should always express love towards them. Feelings that are beautifully parcelled always trump the sloppy seal of an apology.

 

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