Son, I Apologize for Hurting You!

Our kids deserve an apology too!

Think about how you feel when someone hurts you… Now think about how you feel when that someone doesn’t apologize for hurting you… Its not a good feeling is it? You feel hurt all over again, don’t you? Well, our kids feel the same way.

If you were like me you thought, “Why would I apologize to a child?” Well, I’ve since learned that just because they’re “kids” doesn’t mean that they don’t have feelings or emotions just like us. I mean, why would we expect our children to “just get over it” when we can’t “just get over it”? 

It takes only a second to apologize to your child if you’ve said or done something to hurt them. Even though the hurt was unintentional, they still deserve to hear “I apologize for hurting you”. It will instill in them a LIFETIME of compassion for other people’s feelings. It will teach them that when you hurt someone you need to apologize to them. 

My oldest son is 15. It has been a hard road raising him as a single mom. 5yrs into his life I introduced him to a man. A man I intended to spend the rest of my life with. We decided to “blend” our families (he had a then 1yr old) and move in together. 

Shortly before that decision was made I began to have behavioral issues with my son. I thought this man in my life would be a good role model for my son. That he could help me get him on the right track. 

We spent years together trying to make our “blended” family work. All the while hoping that one day we’d all be happy together. This man was amazing. He was an amazing father. An active father. He took my son under his wing and cared for him as if he was his biological father.  But there were problems. Problems that I hoped would resolve themselves as time went on.

It would take time for us to blend together, right? But those problems didn’t get resolved. In fact, they got progressively worse. Favoritism between his son and mine masked as “your son is older so we should expect this or that from him!” Corporal punishment for my son’s bad behavior that was masked as “he has to learn…” 

I went along with this for 10yrs. The truth of the matter is my son was behavioral. To the point where he was constantly getting in trouble at home and at school. Teachers didn’t feel safe with him in their class and we didn’t feel safe with him at home. We tried everything to get him on the right track. All the things our money could buy and all the things that were free in our community. NOTHING worked. 

Eventually, my son got to a point where he wanted to move out and I was ready to let him. I didn’t know what else to do and I was desperate for a solution. His behavior was causing turmoil in our home. 

But, before I got the chance to make arrangements for him to live with his grandmother as his wished, CPS was knocking at my door! We were being accused of child abuse. Once my son realized that his choice of words would ultimately land him in foster care he tried to recant but it was too late. The damage had already been done. And we would begin a long and painful journey in the court system. 

Where did I go wrong? What the hell did I do? There were many levels of emotions that I went through. Anger! Frustration! Betrayal! Just to name a few. 

Through the process, I lost my son to the foster care system. I lost my job as a caregiver of 17yrs to the Central Registry as a “perpetrator of child abuse and neglect”! I lost my relationship with my guy and his son to my own desire to have a “family”!

Devastated and confused I grew angrier and angrier. Eventually, although I was already going I was ordered by the courts to go to therapy. It was on that journey that I realized where I went wrong. I began to find myself. A self I didn’t realize I had lost in the midst of trying to “blend” my family with someone else’s. 

Eventually, I realized that our families would NEVER blend. And that this whole time I’d been trying to force my son into something that he didn’t want just because I wanted it. I was wrong! So wrong! And not only did I hurt myself, my guy and his child. I severely hurt my son in the process. 

Now almost 2yrs into our journey with the courts I had to apologize to my son. I apologized to my son for not CHOOSING HIM. I apologized for causing him pain and turmoil within. For forcing him to do something that he wasn’t comfortable with. For not allowing his voice to be heard. 

I had to face myself. I had to own my actions and face the consequences just the same. I learned that my son deserved to hear me say, “SON, I apologize for hurting you!”

La’Nika, a Grown Ass Black Woman

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