"I’m sorry. What I did was wrong." Those words are rarely heard by anyone. They are heard even less by children. Then there is the ultimate rarity when a child hears it from his parents.
When my mom or dad tells me that, it changes things a bit. For a moment, I have to put aside my anger and my hurt and change my view toward them. For a moment, we are at the same level. I do not see them as authority figures, but as friends asking for forgiveness. The reason that I no longer see them as authority figures is because they are vulnerable. They no longer have the "parent wall" surrounding them.
It makes me feel better when my parents apologize, because they are realizing their mistakes and are righting a wrong. I see them as more than just parents, but friends as well. Apologies from my parents are rare, but when I get them, I never have any trouble saying, "You’re forgiven."
— a teen
What are the words that can change a teen’s life?
"I apologize for ______."
"I was wrong. Will you forgive me?"
Need proof? Take a look at this teen’s story:
The most powerful words we can say to our kids are also the most humbling – and sometimes the most painful.
Adapted from Sticking With Your Teen: How to Keep From Coming Unglued No Matter What, published by Focus on the Family. Copyright © 2006 by Joe White. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.