thought of the week: normalize apologizing to children

i knew early on that i did not want to work with kids once fully settled into my career.  this is for a variety of reasons but one of the main ones being this: children do not have the ability to change their environment the way that adults do.  so if a child comes into my office and tells me about a tough time at home, an action plan cannot be carried out the same way that it could be if they were an adult.  instead, there are tools on communication, stress management and how to process feelings provided to them.  there is also a great deal of learning how to move forward without apologies that they definitely deserve.  the second reason i won’t be able to work with kids long term is that i tend to take the heavy hitting cases home with me – i cannot just leave the trauma a child presents during our 50 minutes in my office once i go home for the day.  and while i do not have kids now, i know that once i do have my own little ones, i will not have the emotional bandwidth needed for both home and work.  i am aware of my limits and want my clients, my children and me to all get the best version of myself.


quarantine meant that all of my sessions moved to virtual ones.  while i was grateful to still be employed, i hated the screen time for several reasons.  my eyes and head would often hurt after longer days, my home no longer felt like the sanctuary i had worked so hard to create, there was not the same sense of connection as when i would meet with my kids in person and i was slapped in the face by what some of their home environments were really like.  and while i have talked about apologies at length on my blog – from the apologies i owe myself to what my apology language is, a topic we have not covered that deserves some attention is children + apologies.  this quote jumped out at me recently.




“normalize apologizing to children.” -jacarlvs


apologizing to children – what a fucking concept.


i grew up in a household with one parent who did not apologize to me for anything that was ever done until i was in my 20s and another parent who typically did not do a lot that would require an apology in the first place.  even still, it seemed like there were far more apologies expected from my brother and i than the other way around.  it was almost like because we were kids, we were not respected enough to be owed an apology, even if there was a major fuck up.  i now see this happen time and time again with my clients.  their parents can put them through the ringer and often, there is little to no acknowledgment or accountability.  an apology?  almost never.  that needs to change.


children are people, too.  they deserve respect and they certainly deserve apologies when the adults in their life drop the ball.  i looked a parent square in the eye this year and reminded them that their child did not ask to be here.  they were totally floored.


when mishaps the adults in a child’s life do are not acknowledged, that same child becomes an adult with an extensive amount of issues and anxiety rooted in said childhood trauma.  many of us, myself included, have had to sit across from a therapist to work through that childhood trauma.  i noticed that my unaddressed trauma was coming up in other areas of my life, especially my relationships.  that was not fair to me or my partner.  both apologies and actions to match from the adults in my life would have changed that trajectory.


so whether you have kids, work with kids or are the aunt, uncle or godparent to a kid, normalize apologizing to them.  it does not make you smaller, it makes you human.  plus, it shows them from an early age what a healthy relationship looks like along with expectations they should have of the people in their orbit.  i want all of the kids around me to value accountability and know that no one in their life is above an apology.


were you apologized to as a kid?  if not, how has that impacted you as an adult?



k. tap

4 thoughts on “thought of the week: normalize apologizing to children

  1. Pingback: thought of the week: normalize asking children for consent – keep up with k.tap

  2. Pingback: guess who turned two today? – keep up with k.tap

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