When you owe your kid a big apology

The other night, it was another round of madness at bedtime. As Glennon Melton puts it – “whack-a-mole.” This article by Glennon on bedtime makes me laugh so hard.

I was not being very nice. And Ella’s tummy was hurting. But really – I’ve heard it all.

Mom, my head hurts.

Mom, my toe hurts.

Mom, I need just one cracker.

Mom, I need to check “one thing.”

On this night, I was not sympathetic AT ALL to Ella’s alleged tummy ache.

I got down the stairs and sunk on the couch and the guilt washed over me. Why can’t I have more self-control? Why can’t they just go to bed? We kind of do the SAME thing every night. For 8 years – it’s simple. Go.to.bed.

The next day on the way to school, the conversation went like this.

Me: “Hey girls, do you know what virtue we are focusing on this month?”

Girls: Blank stares and then.. .”Joy? Love? I don’t know mom.”

Me: “Well it’s forgiveness. Do you remember the definition?”

Girls: Blank stares and then…. “No”

Me: “It’s erasing a wrong with love.”

They repeated after me.

Me: “Well, I owe someone a big apology. (And their EYES got huge.) Ella, it’s you. I realized that your tummy really was hurting last night. And I’m sorry I wasn’t very nice. That was wrong. Will you forgive me?”

Ella: With a HUGE smile on her face she said, “Yes Mom”


Now, do they need to get it together on the bedtime antics? Totally. But I have to own my piece of the pie. When I lose self-control. Or, I am unkind in my words or tone. I want to model forgiveness for them every chance I get.

My friend the other day (forgetting who! tell me if it was you) – told me that there was a study about hugs. All I heard in the conversation was the 20-second part and that there were great benefits. Here’s one article that encourages us to hug.


Erasing a wrong with love. That LOVE piece is crucial. Because a quick “I’m sorry” with a hard heart and face isn’t how I want forgiveness being modeled in our home.

I try to apologize with a sincere heart. And now I’m tossing in a LONG 20-second hug and they try to get away and then giggle. And I squeeze them tighter.

Give yourself grace today. They will come to admire and appreciate the REAL mom they have in front of them. Giving them permission to be real and mess up.

How do you teach forgiveness in your home?
Do you have LOTS of opportunities to practice like me?

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  1. Your comment about hugs sparked a memory about my Dad (your grandfather). One of my most precious memories of him is the big bear hugs he would give me. He hugged me so tight and for so long that I could hardly breathe. He gave me a physical expression of a real and deep love for me that I remember and cherish even decades later!
    Keep hugging! It’s a special expression of love that outlasts the moment!

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