who’s sorry now? asking your child for forgiveness

sking your child for forgiveness isn't easy. However, sometimes it's necessary and the very thing that will bring healing in their hearts -- and ours.It’s one of the most uncomfortable parts of being a Christian mama:

asking for forgiveness…

from your child.

That’s right. Usually we are telling our children, “Now say you’re sorry!” But today, we’re the ones who are going to dig deep and find a place that we need to say the same.

Asking your child for forgiveness isn’t easy. However, sometimes it’s necessary and the very thing that will bring healing in their hearts — and ours. Here’s a few questions we should ask ourselves regularly:

Have we hurt our child in any way with our words or our actions?

Be specific. That’s the hardest part. “I just want you to know that I am sorry for yelling at you for something that wasn’t within your control the other day. It was wrong. Please forgive me. I’ll try harder next time to control my anger.”

Have we been selfish when it would have been better to have their best interest at heart?

{Melinda} When my children were younger, I was deeply mired in people pleasing. It fed a need in me to be validated and important. I felt good when my kids were happy with me — even if it wasn’t in their best interest. And, certainly, enabling and giving too many second (and third and fourth …) chances didn’t serve them well in the long run. They needed me to give them responsibility and accountability. Even when it made them really, really upset with me.

About five years ago, God really opened my eyes to the damage my people pleasing ways was doing to my children. I was crushed and so remorseful. I was very scared, but I knew that I had to change. I had to risk my kids’ displeasure and do what was best for them. Period.

This new way of doing things had to start with an apology. I told my kids that I had not served them well and I was truly sorry. I explained that I was going to start to expect more of them and do what was right for them. And that it was going to take time and I was going to mess up, but I was going to ask God each day to help me.

I’m still on that journey, but God has brought us all a long way. And that apology was the first step. 

Have we chosen to parent them in a way that wasn’t effective?

{Kathy} Recently, I’ve been convicted of how much I have parented out of fear instead of love. What does this look like? I find myself comparing my kids to myself at their age and assuming that they are doing the same not-so-great things I was.

Except….they aren’t me….nor will they ever be. And that’s a good thing. My daughter isn’t trying to dress in a particular way to impress an older boyfriend — that was me. My boys respect girls. It was me who hung around boys that didn’t.

Have we marginalized their lives in ways that they haven’t even known?

Perhaps we’ve been irresponsible with our finances and now it’s affecting their lives. We should ask for forgiveness and tell them the measures we are taking to repent in that area of our lives.

It’s not easy admitting we’ve been wrong — especially to our children. We’re supposed to be the authority, right? Maybe we think it will diminish their respect for us. We have found the exact opposite. It has often increased their respect for us and taken our relationship to a new level of closeness. It also sets a powerful example of humility.

“I’m sorry” — two little words that speak volumes.

Today’s Challenge: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any places where you need to ask your child for forgiveness. Pray that He will give you the words, humility and courage to do it.

Melinda & Kathy

kids and faith


Linking up with: I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Mommy A to Z Blog, Mrs. A OK, The Wellspring, Cornerstone Confessions, The Modest Mom Blog, Los Gringos Locos, Just a Girl and Her Blog, Messy Marriage, Epic Mommy Adventures, Things I Can’t Say, We Are THAT Family, Raising Homemakers, Serving, Joyfully, Imparting Grace, B-Inspired Mama, The Jenny Evolution, 123Homeschool4Me, Happy and Blessed Home, Twin Tested Pin Approved, Reasons to Skip the Housework.

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  • Thank you for sharing this post Kathy at the Family Fun Friday link up! I will be featuring it on my blog at this week’s link up! <3

  • I agree; it’s definitely appropriate to apologize to our children. To anybody! It’s for our own sake as much as theirs. I’ve had to often ask forgiveness from my children; it’s usually those closest to us that we hurt the most. Thanks for sharing this encouragement.

  • I think it’s important for our kids to see us asking for forgiveness. Not just from them, but from God as well. If they see us being honest about our mistakes it will make it easier to see where they also make mistakes.

    • {Kathy} They must see that we are human — even though they think we’re superhuman (wink, wink).

  • I think it’s so important to model humility, forgiveness and compassion to children in this way. So many think that apologizing to a child will somehow make you lose “power” over them – but in my experience as a child and now working with children the opposite is true. When they see that you care for them and are willing to admit when you were wrong, they are more likely to respect you and to fess up and make amends when they do wrong. Pride in a relationship between parent and child is a sure recipe for rebellion and hurt feelings, sometimes to the point that the relationship is irreparable.

    • {Kathy} Yes! Children are more likely to rebel when they feel that the only role a parent has is one of power, not authority. Great perspective, Amy. Thank you.

  • I’ve apologized to my kids. If I’d expect an apology from them for similar behavior, then they need it from me!

    • {Kathy} What’s good for the kids is also good for mommy, right? Thanks for visiting and commenting.


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i’m melinda


I’m a woman who was radically changed when the God I thought I knew since childhood opened my eyes to the overwhelming depth of His love for me. I love speaking, writing, and pointing women to the Father so they can experience for themselves the healing power of His incredible, captivating love.

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