It’s inevitable. We all have bad days.
But what happens when those bad days as a parent are our fault. What happens when we know that it was more than being cranky or messing up? It wasn’t just because the kids were whining or our partner had to work late.
We flat out wronged our kids.
When I let my temper go, it feels good… for about half a second. Then I see my children’s faces and I’m crushed.
How could I be so selfish? How could I lose perspective? How could I treat those precious little people with anger?
How could I be everything I hate?
Sometimes my remorse over my bad parenting threatens to destroy our whole day, if not our week. And if left unchecked, it can forever change my view of myself, making me a worse parent.
Here’s how I recover from a parenting failure…
Apologize to Your Kids without Excuses
It’s easy to shift blame after I lose my cool. After all, the anger almost always is a reaction to my children’s disobedience. But you know what? I am responsible for my choices. As much as I want to shape and mold their hearts, that is ultimately up to them and the Lord. So if we’ve both been in the wrong, my priority needs to be remorse over my sin.
This is the time to humble yourself. Admit to your kids that what you did was wrong and without excuse. Tell them how much you regret it. And remind them that not only did you hurt them, but you sinned against God.
Let Them Hear You Receive Grace
I want my kids to SEE my relationship with God is real. Not a fictional story, not a set of rules to follow, not a lovely tradition.
REAL. My only hope. Because, that’s what it is.
Remind your kids that saying “sorry” doesn’t really take care of sin. Our bad choices condemn us. Justice calls for a payment, not empty words.
But I pray you know the good news.
Justice has been served. The only Holy God paid the debt for you. It’s finished. Receive the grace. Undeserved, overflowing, and life transforming.
So after I apologize to my kids, I pray aloud. This is the time to preach the gospel while receiving it.
I turn from my sin and embrace the cross. I praise Him for saving me. I praise Him that I’m not left to wallow in this muck of self. Sin is crushing, but He crushed sin. His grace is enough.
Live the Gospel
Grace like that changes everything. There’s no need to punish yourself. There’s no need to despair.
That only belittles the gift.
You cannot add anything to what Christ has done for you, so please don’t try. Show your children by your JOY the all sufficiency of Christ.