There had been a meltdown in communication. A disagreement about one small detail of our day had snowballed into an uncommon explosion of built-up emotions. In the heat of that moment, I said something disrespectful to my wife, only to realize that my 14-year-old son was sitting on the recliner behind me, hearing every word.
It was necessary in that moment to apologize to both my wife and my son, and I did. However, there are times when an apology is the wrong response. Here are 5 things parents should never apologize for.Never apologize for giving the best of yourself to your family.
1. Saying Yes to Prioritizing Your Family
There are a lot of good things competing for your time as a dad. Very few, if any, are as important as your family. Juggling home life, work life, and everything else can quickly take its toll, but keeping your family front and center is vital. When your buddies may want you to hang out on the weekend, sometimes saying no for the sake of being with your kids is more important, even if it makes the guys upset. Never apologize for giving the best of yourself to your family.
2. Saying No to Your Children When Necessary
I’m all for being a “yes parent” when possible. But some of your best parenting will happen when you learn how and when to say no. If your kids are anything like mine, they are full of questions, ideas, and desires. They usually don’t know what’s best for them when making choices about sleep, food, or media. They just know what they want. Even though I know that not everything my kids want is good for them, I still struggle with the desire to please them. In those moments, I must choose to be their dad over their friend and do what I know is best for them without apology.
3. Removing Your Child From a Public Setting When Needed
I can remember multiple times in our children’s younger years when I would have to leave the church pew or the grocery store aisle with my kids in order to effectively train and parent them. While the easiest thing to do when faced with public embarrassment is nothing, the best thing to do is just be the parent your kids need by lovingly, yet firmly, dealing with the situation. Not only will your kids thank you one day, but you’ll also have multiple other parents secretly and silently cheering you on.
4. Holding Your Children Accountable for Their Actions
A challenging part of dad life can be allowing your kids to suffer the consequences of their own choices. Kids make foolish decisions, and no dad enjoys seeing his child suffer. You might even be faced with resistance from family or friends who’ll say you’re just being too hard on your kids for not rescuing them from their foolish mistakes. But most often, the best way for kids to learn from those mistakes is to simply feel the weight of their consequences. This both opens the door for teachable moments and prepares them for real-life decision-making.
5. Prioritizing Your Relationship With Your Wife Over Your Children
Of all the things parents should never apologize for, this might be the most important. Children are a blessing from God, but they are an extension of your marriage relationship, never a replacement for it. One of the best ways to bless your children is to focus on improving your relationship with your wife. Your kids will always think they need something from you. In our home, when our bedroom door is closed, our kids know not to bother us unless it’s an emergency. This is a small yet practical way to help them understand that our time together as husband and wife matters. Never apologize for prioritizing date nights, getaways, and alone time. Not only will your marriage benefit from it, but your children will too.
Sound off: What are some other things parents should never apologize for?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why do you think I say no or don’t allow you to do some things?”