Apologizing to Your Kid: Should You Do It?

Date: 06/30/2023

Title: When should I apologize to my kid?

00:00:01 Speaker 1
So as a parent, is it okay to apologize to your child or does that just show weakness? Well, that's
what we're talking about today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, and I'm a licensed marriage
and family therapist. I specialize in helping kids, teens and families live happier lives.
I lead two organizations, teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization,
Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon,
I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. Sometimes
I lose it with my kids. I try really hard not to, but every once in a while they drive me nuts and
I end up snapping at them or yelling. I hate that feeling. When it happens, I feel like I should
probably say I'm sorry to them. I'm usually so annoyed that it's hard to think of the right words
to explain why I'm mad, and I'm worried it will just turn into an argument. Then the moment passes
and it's just easier to let it go. How

00:01:07 Speaker 1
should I handle it? Thank you for your question. We love your questions. I think as many of the
questions on Tips on Teens are, a lot of parents can resonate with this situation. First of all,
I want to acknowledge it's really hard being a parent. It's one of the hardest things we do. There's
nothing in this world that strains our mental fortitude more than being a parent. So with that
in mind, you're going to lose your cool. Sometimes you're going to lose it even. I a licensed
married family therapist who works with kids and teens and coaches parents. Even I have lost
it on my kids before. It doesn't feel good. None of us have ever blown up on our kids going, wow,
that feels great. I feel wonderful. Let's eat dinner. No, it feels horrible. So when these situations
happen and they will, I think it's important. How do we deal with this? First of all, when you're
both heated, nothing's going to happen. You guys are yelling at each other. No one's going to
listen. That's the whole thing. But

00:02:06 Speaker 1
when there's a conflict like this, there cannot be a winner. An apology is not admitting defeat.
If you receive an apology, that is not victory. An apology is about healing. There can't be a
winner. If there's a winner, everyone loses. You guys can heal together or you can both suffer
separately and both lose. So what I mean by that is, let's say you and your kid are arguing. You
blow up, you are more snarky than you should. You say words you shouldn't say. You yell louder
than you should. And finally both you have a time out from each other and you're calming down.
You're like, I wish I didn't say that, but if I go say I'm sorry, they're going to think they won.
I don't think that's the case. Imagine the handful of times in your life that you received a heartfelt,
sincere apology. Didn't feel like you won, didn't feel like that person lost. Feel like that
person hears me, understands me. That person relates to what I'm going through. It's more of
helping you guys come together, and that's

00:03:11 Speaker 1
the goal of an apology. So, for example, this is not an apology. Nancy, I'm really sorry I yelled
at you, but you're being a little shit, and you shouldn't pick on your sister that way, and you've
got to clean your room. But I'm sorry. Yelled. That is not an apology, right? This is an apology.
Nancy, I'm really sorry. Yelled. I was upset. That doesn't give me excuse to yell at you like
that. You deserve to be treated with respect, and I will try harder next time. And I love you.
And come give her a hug. Now, your daughter may be going, who are you? Who is a strange person who
is masquerading as my parent? Right? Eventually, she will take note of it, and she'll walk away
going, wow, mom or dad heard me, understood me. And you're also modeling for her how to apologize
in a healthy, respectful way and showing how much strength it chose to have that apology. You'll
be the last person who ever hears it from your kid. But when they're at their friends houses,
teachers, coaches, they'll be able

00:04:15 Speaker 1
to have it in their own relationships. I think that's really important. And learn the skill
of an appropriate and healthy apology. An apology is not about weakness. It's about strength.
It's about I'm able to demonstrate to you that I care for you and that I feel for you, and I want
to help you heal. That's what an apology is. So I think it's important that us as the adults, because
your kid's not qualified to be an adult yet, that you once you calm down, you come back and you
feel that you are inappropriate. You take ownership of your actions despite his or her actions,
because they're separate. Your actions are your actions. You're responsible for your actions,
despite how they behaved. In ideal world, we'd never lose our cool. We'd always be calm and focused
and patient. That's not real. We aren't humans. But we can still take ownership for our actions.
And the more we take ownership for our actions, we earn respect and trust with our kids and thus
allowing us to have influence over

00:05:13 Speaker 1
them. And then with that, they hopefully will follow suit and follow our foot, lead our footsteps
in our lead. Anyways, that's our question for today. Thank you so much. I'm out next week for
Thanksgiving, so no tips on teens, but we'll pick back up in early December. Thank you so much.
If you want me to answer your question in two weeks, you can email us at tipsonteans@teentherapycenter.com.
Again. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling, and I'll
see you guys in a couple of weeks. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Bye bye, guys.

Is Apologizing to Your Kid a Defeat?

Being a parent is hard! Nothing in the world can strain one’s mental fortitude like the demands of parenthood. You’re going to lose your cool sometimes! And when you blow up on your kid it never feels good.

So how do you deal with it when you go off? Remember this: in a family conflict situation that gets out of control there can not be a winner. If there’s a winner, that means someone loses. You have to heal together with your family, otherwise everyone suffers.

The First Rule of Apologizing Is…

Apologizing to your kid is not admitting defeat!! Remember, we’re not trying to “win” anyway, right? A good apology is about acknowledging your child’s feelings and making them feel seen. And guess what? When you apologize, you’re modeling for your child how to do it. That’s a skill that will help them their whole lives!

Want to find out exactly how to go about apologizing to your kid? We’ll teach you in this Tips on Teens video, and we’re not sorry about it!

“Sometimes I lose it with my kids. I try really hard not to, but every once in a while they drive me nuts and I end up snapping at them or yelling. I hate that feeling. When It happens, I feel like I should probably say I’m sorry to them. I’m usually so annoyed that it’s hard to think of the right words to explain why I’m mad, and I’m worried it will just turn into an argument. Then the moment passes and it’s just easier to let it go. How should I be handling it?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.