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When I mess up and then apologize to my sons, I see respect for me blossom from their personas, not shame or ridicule. It makes me think, “What was I afraid of?” I can only maintain the image of super dad until they reach 8 or 9.
By then they start to see through the facade that I‘m a mighty mountain of strength and wisdom. But the positive side is, when I do make mistakes and show how I learn from them, they imitate that example! They display humility and conviction with a forward motion to be better men.
It is okay to say you’re sorry and admit mistakes to your children. In fact, it’s essential! Kids learn by example and when we don’t apologize or admit wrongdoing, it teaches them to lie and not take responsibility for their actions. They can end up with stunted ethics and their sensitivity filter can be seriously clogged with arrogance for things they should be apologizing for.
So many of us are dysfunctional today because we didn’t learn humility from our parents’ example. We didn’t discover how to handle emotions properly, display emotions, confront wrong behavior with love, and especially apply lessons to real life scenarios. If we want to raise good kids, we have to be self-disciplined and teach by example because they’ll see eventually through our facade. I’ve discovered raising good kids often starts with a sincere apology.
Jay Jin Kim is a writer and father.