Lila’s Lesson: How To Apologize The Right Way

Remember a few months back when Mia taught me a lesson about slowing down and being present? About looking at her not just as a child, but as an individual? This past week, Lila taught me another life lesson – how to apologize the right way.

My four year old daughter taught me about how to apologize and say I'm sorry like I really mean it. We can learn a lot from our kids if we stop and listen.

Let me start by saying that Lila is one of the sweetest, most caring people that I know. Her heart is huge, and she is constantly taking care of others. Whether it be a younger friend, one of her 20 or so babies, or if she’s acting as Lila McStuffins and treating us to keep us healthy, my sweet girl has a heart of gold. This also means that her feelings are easily hurt and that she’s very emotional.

It was in the morning, rush hour at our house, as I was trying to get the kids ready and out the door to get Ethan to school and then get the girls to their gymnastics class. Lila was having a rough morning, being whiny and not really following directions. I was already at my wit’s end, at 8:30 in the morning. You know, a typical day for most moms.

As we head out to the car, I opened the door so the kids could get in, not realizing Lila was standing as close as she was. As I opened the door, it hit her in the arm. Lila, who has a flair for the dramatics, grabbed her arm and started crying saying how bad it hurt. I knew that it didn’t hurt as bad as she was making it out to be because I know the different cries for pain, attention, anger, etc. I quickly said “Sorry Li, now get in the car” as I pushed her towards the door and gently rubbed her arm.

Lila’s Lesson: How To Apologize

She got in the car, whining, and complaining, and sat down. Then she tells me:

“Mom! That’s not how you say I’m sorry. When I accidentally hurt Biddy (our dog), I tell her I’m sorry and give her love so that she knows that I really mean it. You just said sorry and didn’t even give me a hug!”

I stopped whatever it was I was doing and looked at her, my jaw dropped wide open. She was absolutely right. An apology, no matter how big or small, should be sincere. The person who is receiving the apology should know that you mean it. How much more time would it have taken me to bend down to her eye level and say “I’m sorry Li” and gave her a hug? Those extra few seconds would have meant something to her.

So I told her that she was right, that I was wrong. That I should have told her I’m sorry and given her a hug. Which is what I did. I unbuckled her seat belt and pulled her towards me. I hugged her and kissed her, and kissed her boo-boo too. I wiped away her tears and told her that I loved her, and thanked her for teaching me how to be a better mom (a better person for that matter.)

Thank you my sweet Lila, for teaching me that how I say something is more important than the words I actually say.

My kids teach me such important lessons, like how to apologize the right way. I’m sure your kids do too! What lessons have yours taught you? For more parenting tips and advice, visit my board Parenting and Family on Pinterest.


  1. I love this. What a wise little girl you have! Lady Jennie recently posted..Gluten-Free, Low Carb Onion RingsMy Profile
  2. I love it when my kids are brave enough to teach me right from wrong. They're always right. Love her simple, clear way of getting the message across! :) Andrea recently posted..TransitionMy Profile