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It’s hard, when you’ve sinned against a child, to apologize (confess, repent, ask their forgiveness) to them. But this is something all parents should do. Here are nine reasons why.

  1. We’re commanded to.

Right at the end of James it says, “Therefore confess your sins to one another…” Notice it doesn’t say, “Confess your sins to one another, unless you’re in a position of authority over them.”

  1. It shows humility.

Proud parenting is dysfunctional parenting. Apologizing shows you aren’t too proud to admit failure.

  1. It shows you know you aren’t perfect.

It encourages bad theology to make your kids think you are sinless. And you probably aren’t fooling them anyway.

  1. It helps them learn how to forgive.

If God can forgive us, we should forgive each other. This isn’t always easy and experience helps.

  1. It demonstrates that your behavior wasn’t biblical parenting.

When I yell at my kids (or otherwise show anger sinfully), it would be very bad if they walk away from the experience thinking, “I guess that’s just how dads act.” Apologizing says, “That behavior is not the way I should act towards you, and it’s not the way you should act when you’re a parent.

  1. It demonstrates that your behavior isn’t normative.

Family life is a precursor to everyday life. Again, when you sin against your kids, it would be very bad if they walk away from the experience thinking, “I guess that’s just how people interact with each other.” Apologizing says, “You shouldn’t expect that behavior from others, and you shouldn’t act towards others in that way.”

  1. It models to kids requesting forgiveness.

You want your kids to apologize to others when they do wrong, don’t you?

  1. It shows God’s sanctifying work in your life.

Humbling yourself in front of your family may be one way that God is making you more like His Son and more like the image bearer that you were created to be.

  1. Motivation

The knowledge that you don’t like apologizing (and that you’ll have to do it if you sin against a child) might make you less likely to act in that way in the first place.

  1. It increases openness.

Talking about the situation surrounding your sin might be very helpful for your relationship.

  1. It shows them the Gospel.

Our need for forgiveness from God is the first part of the Gospel. Being aware of our sin is required for this. Our only Hope is reconciliation with God and confession, repentance and forgiveness is necessary for this to happen.


Now all of this is assuming you sin against your children from time to time. If not – if you’re sinless in all your behaviors towards them, congratulations, you’re the only one.

Yes, again, it’s hard to ask forgiveness of anyone, especially a child. But you should ask yourself, why is it hard? Are you holding onto your sin? Is your pride holding you back?

Let it go. And hold onto your children.


Did I miss any good reasons?