My daughter disobeyed me this weekend. She’s six. She’s a great kid, but it happens.
Somehow it hit me just the right way and I blew my top and yelled at her. Not a corrective or constructive yell (the kind you use when you find your kids playing in the street) but an over-the-top angry yell. I surprised myself and her.
I felt horrible.
She was wrong, but I was more so. I know better and usually do a much better job of reigning-in my temper. My wife and I are great at tag-teaming discipline when one or the other is too angry to handle things constructively. This time, I had a major parenting FAIL.
I had to apologize. There was nothing else I could do.
“Daddy needs to talk with you.” as I positioned myself to talk with her eye-to-eye.
“Yes sir.” She said, eyes red and puffy.
“I shouldn’t have yelled at you. Even though you disobeyed me, I should never have yelled at you like that. I am so sorry.”
“Thank you for your sorry. I’m sorry I disobeyed.”
She forgave me in an instant. The world was a better place.
I knew how to apologize to her because of the way my dad apologized to me when I was a kid. I’m so grateful to him for showing me the right way to relate with my children. I hope my daughter and son never need to apologize to their kids. But, being a parent of two, I know they will eventually. How I handle my screw-ups is just as much an example to my kids as how I handle my successes.