Does asking for forgiveness really reduce the distance between parents and teens? Can it defuse rebellion? These teens seem to think so:
The fact that my mom is willing to humble herself and admit that she has made a mistake helps me to respect her a lot. It makes it so much easier for me to apologize and want to change when she will meet me in the middle. It also makes it easier to identify with the things she tells me and helps me to pay attention to her advice by her taking away an attitude of superiority.
It greatly encouraged me that my dad thought it was necessary to confess his sin. It set before me an example of what is true and right. I will never forget this.
When my parents apologize to me it lets me know that we all make mistakes when we're young and old – and helps me realize that we're all in the same boat. It helps me see that they are trying hard, too.
When my parents tell me they're sorry, I feel as if they really do care about me and how their mistake affected me. It reminds me that they are not perfect either and that they are still learning from mistakes. Above all, their apology reminds me that they really do love and care for me.
My parents were always very quick to apologize. This is probably the reason that I don't remember any exact incidents where they hurt me.
My parents have never had a problem with saying, "Sorry." It never made me feel better right away, but I couldn't stay mad at them. And it made it a lot easier to say that I was sorry when I screwed up.
When my mom apologized, it helped me to see that she understood me. It made me feel closer to her.
When my dad apologized to me, this greatly improved our relationship. I stopped thinking of him as perfect and started thinking of him as a human. When that happened, I realized that I could hang out with him and be friends.
I don't know about you, but I can't read those words without wanting to figure out something to apologize to my kids for!
Adapted from Sticking With Your Teen: How to Keep From Coming Unglued No Matter What, published by Focus on the Family. Copyright © 2006 by Joe White. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.