Why I Hate To Apologize To My Teenager
by Debbi Dickinson
No one I know enjoys making mistakes; especially when it involves needing to make an apology. Having that apology directed to your teenager; a lot of parents would rather have a tooth pulled.
Why is it that an apology can be tough to give?
I know for me it is all about my EGO. I like to be right, I like to be all-knowing especially when my kid is involved. My Ego says: “I’m the parent; therefore, I know everything.” Bottom line, I want to be viewed as perfect!
As much as I would love to just let the mistake slide by in silence; I know that’s not right. I need to apologize, the question is how.
First thought is how to spin an apology to down play the event. Essentially how can I admit that I’m at least nearly perfect.
My second thought is how can I somehow guide the conversation into them saying ‘That’s okay mom, It wasn’t that bad’. My EGO always loves being instantly forgiven.
My third thought is that my teenager won’t let me live down my mistake; I will be hearing about it for days or worse weeks. My EGO won’t like that one bit and will either want to continue to downplay the event or get angry over it.
My fourth thought is that I’m spending way too much time thinking about this whole situation. It is best to just own up to my part of being wrong and my EGO will just have to live with the consequences.
Last December, my daughter was to perform in a holiday dance show. From my memory I knew what time we needed to be there from previous years. We showed up just as my daughter’s dance group was going on stage. With costumes in her hand, she was devastated that we showed up too late. I checked my phone calendar and saw I did in fact have the correct time recorded. I didn’t verify the time of the event; I went off of my (aging!) memory.
My EGO ran through the first three points above; but realized what I needed to do was to apologize to my daughter right then. I apologized and just held her as she cried. I felt horrible since she had been looking forward to this for weeks.
After she cried out all her tears we had a chance to talk about my mistake and the fact that I am very human. It was a good conversation. Fast forward to this past weekend and we’re ready to head off to an event. What question did you think I got from my daughter?
Are you sure about the time we need to be there?
She says it with mixed humor and seriousness. I can’t help but smile since the lesson I’ve taught her is everyone makes mistakes; even her nearly perfect mom!
As much as I don’t enjoy owning up to my humanness to anyone; I know it is important for my daughter to know that it’s okay to admit that you were wrong. It’s also okay to be reminded of it on occasion as well.