Can You, as a Parent, Admit When You're Wrong?

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Sometimes, no matter how careful us parents are, how many books we read, or how many experiences we have, we can be wrong. This is natural. It is human nature, but instead of admitting our errors to our kids, we often react like it is unthinkable that we could make a mistake.

Kids soon pick up on the fact that, occasionally, you are wrong. They know when you have "screwed up.' They also know when you do not acknowledge it. Yet, we seem to have no trouble pointing out all the mistakes our kid makes. This is like that biblical passage about getting the mote out of our own eye before removing the spec from another's eye. To put this plainly, we should all learn from mistakes and admit when we have made one. Once you correct your own errors, you are better able to deal with your children's.

When this does happen and you, the parent, goof up admit it. Take steps to correct it, rather than piling one mistake on top of another. A simple, "I'm sorry" may be all that is needed. Did you do some emotional harm to your child in some way? Make it up to them. Did you give them an unfair consequence? Let them work off their overlong grounding. Admit to your teen when your consequences are unreasonable if they are. Do not make a habit of this, but once or twice you could recant the grounding for life, or taking away the car forever. The key here is to learn from your mistakes when you overreact.

Kids like it when parents show them they, too, are "human." If you show your teen your frailties and shortcomings, you are letting them know it's OK to mess up once in awhile without feeling like they are the worse person in the world or a total failure. It really is not that hard to admit you are wrong. Some adults apologize to other adults in work or relationship situations, why not with your own flesh and blood. Your kids need you to be a good example.

Admitting you are wrong, showing them there are natural consequences that everyone must take responsibility for when they make a mistake, and asking their forgiveness when it affects them are wonderful steps toward a good relationship.

It's OK to be wrong, everyone is sometimes. Your kids will respect your honesty when you admit it.

Credits: Jo Ann Wentzel

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