I messed up bad this week. I really disappointed my kids. Specifically, Emma.
I received a text message from her the other day as I was eating lunch.
Emma: Did you take MY buttered noodles?
Me: Oops. (guilty face emoji)
Emma: Dad! Now I am without noodles…the noodles that I made! The noodles I was so happy to eat today!
Me: I’m sorry. (tearful face emoji)
Look, parents, sometimes we will disappoint our kids. Sometimes it’s just taking their noodles on accident when we didn’t realize it was their noodles that they were planning to eat for lunch. But sometimes it’s something bigger. Maybe a missed ballgame, a missed speech contest or other event of theirs that they were hoping we would come to. Maybe it’s simply time with them, not playing a game they wanted to play with us, not taking them to that movie we promised, not coming through on a commitment we said we would come through on.
Your kids will get over a broken promise every now and then but you can’t make a habit of it. When you do mess up, break a commitment or a promise, talk to them, admit you made a mistake and apologize. Just because you’re the parent doesn’t mean you don’t have to admit your faults to your kids. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to apologize.
Our kids will love and respect us more when we are real with them like that. When we demonstrate and model the actions we want them to take when they mess up, they will learn more quickly from us. We are to model the behavior we expect them to have.
So you may be wondering if my daughter ever forgave me. When I got home I apologized to her and she yet again expressed her disappointment. However, I came prepared. I had to stop for gas on the way home from work so I stepped into the gas station to get a Twix candy bar for her. I pulled it out of my pocket to give to her and asked, “will this help make it better?” “Yep!” she replied with a grin. Whew!
Now, I don’t mean to imply that you can just buy your way out of a mess you may have gotten yourself into. It may work for taking your daughter’s buttered noodles but it won’t replace time missed with you. But it doesn’t hurt to go a little out of your way to try and make up for it.