As a parent, one has plenty of opportunities to reflect on being sorry, which is a start to repairing our relationships, including those with our kids.
Introspection, the willingness to look at the thinking that produced our actions and to face what is revealed, is an important part of growing into our best selves.
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Disturbing and Restoring the Peace
I have found in our family that sometimes when some of us argue, unkind things are said, or voices get raised.
Being sorry is a good start!
When the heat of the moment subsides, we always clear the air, never leaving hurt feelings to linger around and become an additional issue.
An important aspect of restoring peace involves owning what you did to disturb it.
And truly owning what you did to disturb something should not turn into a list of excuses of why you’re less than favorable behavior was justified.
Owning what you did is a statement recognizing what you did or said was hurtful.
Being sorry is a good start, but only half the solution
We model for our daughters and continue to remind them when they fight each other that being sorry and apologizing are two separate stages of seeking to restore balance to a situation.
We experience being sorry in the moment of recognition that we hurt someone or disturbed the peace of a situation.
Recognition is the awareness that something feels bad and, thus, the sensation of being sorry.
The apology is the restitution aspect, the act of restoring balance through the admission that we could have handled something better.
The apology seeks forgiveness for the choices that resulted in feeling sorry.
To Forgive is Helpful and More Effective Than to Accept
Just as important as crafting the apology and owning what transpired is accepting one in such a way that produces optimal growth for everyone involved.
When we respond to an apology with the words: ‘It’s ok’ or ‘It’s alright’ or ‘I understand,’ we effectively say that the behavior that has been apologized for was ok or alright, to begin with.
A more effective response that produces the greatest likelihood of growth for both the giver and receiver of the apology is: ‘I forgive you.’
These words allow the apologizing person the room they require to grow while also honoring the feelings of the hurt person.
Growth for All After an Argument:
1.) Allow some time for emotions to settle down
2.) Reflect on the situation; only one aspect of the evaluation is what prompted the fallout. Get past what caused you to say or do something worthy of an apology. Go further to how you want to set things right.
3.) Before parting or going to sleep, address the person(s) you hurt and apologize, including your awareness of what you could have done differently, expressing that you intend to take a different approach in the future.
4.) Encourage them to offer you forgiveness rather than acceptance of your behavior.
Being sorry is a good start
Remember, saying “I’m sorry” is a powerful tool for repairing damaged relationships, especially those with our children.
It shows we will take responsibility for our actions.
However, it’s important to remember sincere apologies, followed by action, are the best way to gain peace and clarity.
Simply saying sorry while making no changes or taking steps to prevent similar mistakes in the future is not enough.
True apologies involve admitting fault, expressing empathy, and committing to improve.
By apologizing in this way, we can repair relationships, grow as individuals, and learn from our mistakes.
So the next time you need to apologize, remember the power of a genuine “I’m sorry.”
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