Dr. Kara Powell recently published The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family and through her research and parent interviews, the power of parents apologizing to their kids quickly became clear. Here’s one thing that she has learned through her research:
What separates Christianity from every other religion is grace. All other religions believe we reach God through obedience and behaviors; in Christianity, God reaches us through unmerited grace.
If we want our homes to drip with grace, we as parents need to be quick to apologize. Confessing our mistakes to our kids and asking them to forgive us not only builds closer family relationships, it also helps our kids experience the closeness of God’s tender mercies.
So thanks to our research, I’ve started saying two words more frequently to my kids. I’m sorry.
“I’m sorry for the tone of voice I used when I asked you to empty the dishwasher.”
“I’m sorry that I misunderstood the conflict you were having with your brother and jumped to an unfair conclusion.”
“I’m sorry that I wasn’t sensitive enough to how tired you were from soccer.”
If you want to make your home a hub of grace, try the following:
1. Keep your personal antennae up for times when your own fatigue causes you to speak unkindly to your kids.
2. When you feel like you’ve wronged your kids, tell them that you’re sorry and ask for their forgiveness.
3. Make sure you are quick to extend forgiveness to your kids when they need to do the same.
According to our research, saying “I’m sorry” isn’t a sign of parental failure. It can be a bridge to greater family intimacy and faith.