Why I Apologize to My Kids & How I Do It

I apologize to my kids. Here’s why.

No matter what season of motherhood you’re in, I think we can all agree on one thing: It’s hard. Wonderful, heart-filling, amazing. But also, so very challenging. 

I think we can also agree on the fact that even the most level-headed of mamas hit a breaking point after a certain period of time. For me lately, it’s been playing referee to a couple of beautiful and strong-willed little ladies who are only 16 months apart and are into a lot of the same things.

apologizeMy older daughter can have some wicked selective listening some days, and my younger one is trying to figure out boundaries and has absolutely no shame in walking up to big sis and ripping a toy out of her hand.

Perhaps this is the twentieth similar scenario and it’s not even 9 a.m. Most likely, I’ve probably held my cool for the first 19 rounds. But here we are, and I’ve lost composure.

I’m not a yeller, but “STOP!” comes out loud enough for the neighbors to hear. The woodland creatures are running back to safety. The girls are in their rooms and crying. And like a dark storm cloud, the guilt creeps in.

This is where my need to apologize arises. I messed up and overreacted, again, and two little ladies who are my world and figuring their world out, are hurting.

I used to try to justify what I did. But the more I did that, I realized how upset I would be if an adult used those reasons after hurting me. So I changed my approach. 

I started to apologize to my kids, and it’s been a game-changer. 

When the timeout is done, I go in gently, hold my girls, and tell them how sorry I am for yelling. 

I explained what I did wrong and what I should have done instead, in words they can understand and relate with. 

While apologizing, I describe how I was feeling in that moment. Overwhelmed, frustrated, and sad often come up. 

And you know what? They hug me tighter. “It’s okay, Mommy,” often comes out of the mouth of my older daughter. 


We then talk about what went wrong and how they could change their actions moving forward. Instead of forcing apologies to one another, I’ve taken up something I saw somewhere on the interwebs that has also been a huge help. We ask the other person, “What can I do to make you feel better?”

Sometimes that’s a hug, a toy, or an apology. My hope is that they will also carry this apologizing strategy forward. We don’t all speak the same love language, and our healing looks different.

This is often all it takes for us to get things back on track. Instead of the gray cloud hanging around the house for the next several hours, the sun is back out and we’re back to having fun. After apologizing and working through our feelings, we feel refreshed. 


My aim here is not to reinforce to their kids that I have no idea what I’m doing in this toughest job that doesn’t come with a manual {which truly, I don’t – totally winging it here!}. 

My goal is to teach my kids that it’s okay to mess up, and that comes with taking accountability for our mistakes. 

I want them to know that we can hurt others when we ourselves are hurting, and that even if hurting someone else wasn’t our intent, their feelings are valid and the hurt still happened. 

I want them to know that their mistakes don’t make me love them any less. That’s how we learn. We’re always learning.

I want them to learn to mess up, apologize, correct course, and move on versus dwelling on things. 

Most of all, I want my kids to know that their parents are human. We all are. And a lot of us struggle with the same things. 

So the next time you find yourself over the edge, losing your cool, and it’s only 9:00 am, take pause and know you’re doing a great job. You’re human, and it’s okay if you feel the need to apologize.

Also know that your kids love you, no matter what. Try changing the energy when you walk in that door. I think you’ll be amazed.

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Kylie grew up in Capac, a little rural town in the thumb of Michigan. She now resides in Oakland Township with her husband, Michael, and daughters, Ella and Clara. Prior to becoming a mother, Kylie completed a Bachelor of Science in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science/Pre-Health and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing Analytics, both at the University of Michigan. Her career is focused on improving the quality of healthcare in the most vulnerable populations of Michigan. The past few years have given the opportunity for the most challenging and rewarding role of her life: that of a mother. Kylie is passionate about spending time with her family and friends, endurance cycling and running, going to concerts at small venues, cooking fun and unique dishes with her husband, home improvement projects, playing classical piano, and the color orange. One of the most profound things she’s learned about becoming a mother is to love with all her heart, do the best she can, and try not to worry about the rest.