The Most Uncomfortable Way To Build A Stronger Bond With Your Kids

One of the best ways to show your kids how to be good people is to model it.

pretty young mom smiling at preschool daughter on her back, with a pink background yonikamoto / shutterstock 

In a world that is changing rapidly, it is now more important than ever before to build a strong bond with your kids, regardless of whether they are young or growing older.

Your kids need to know you are listening and open to discussion when they have questions, fears, feelings they don’t understand, things going on at school or with friends and more. You want them to know that you are the one they can trust to be there for them. 


They want to know you will listen and not overreact.

They also need certain boundaries to help them feel safe. That’s your job but it’s best to do that in a way that is meaningful and always with a love that helps them understand why — and to build a deeper, enduring bond.

One of the best ways to build that deep bond is simple, but often feels counter-intuitive: admit when you are wrong and offer them authentic apolgies when you've made a mistake.

RELATED: How To Offer The Right Apology For Big, Medium And Even Tiny Mistakes


Help them know how and when to say 'I'm sorry'

One thing that may seem counterintuitive is to teach them, through your own actions, healthy apologies. If done right, it will not undermine your authority but rather teach them that we all make mistakes at times. This takes some of the pressure of perfectionism off of them. 

Your kids will also learn an important lesson, knowing that it's OK and healthy to say I’m sorry. If you know you hurt someone’s feelings and you didn’t really mean it this can help you and the one you hurt to simply say “I’m sorry.”

You are also teaching them how to treat others in a way that is kind and fair.

This seems like such a small thing, but it can prevent a buildup of anger and resentment if handled right. With teens and even younger kids, anger and resentment can end up hurting others in bigger ways such as taking your anger out on others by bullying. 


If you teach your kids early on how important it is to be able to talk about their feelings, this will help them as they grow into the ups and downs of their teen years. Also, as a  parent or an appointed caregiver, it is important for you to teach them this through example.

RELATED: The 39 Best Ways To Make Kids Feel Loved, According To 39 Parenting Experts

How to apologize authentically to your kids

If your younger child gets upset, or crying because you yelled and scolded him or her for doing something that could have hurt, them it’s good to share your own feelings.

Give them a hug, tell them you love them and how it scared you when you saw how close they came to getting hurt and you had to yell to get their attention. Then say, "I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. Sometimes I have to be very serious to help you be safe. That is my job but it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It is the most important job I will ever have."


Then ask if they feel better or want to say anything and they will probably say "I’m sorry," too. Then change the subject to something fun and let them know they can always tell you how they feel and you will always be there to talk whenever they need to.

RELATED: 11 Examples Of Insincere Or Fake Apologies

Communication tips that help with authentic apologies 

For the most effective communication with your child, remember these important tips:

• Stop what you are doing and listen when they want to talk.  

• Thank them for sharing and for trusting you with their feelings. 

• Remind them they can always talk with you about anything.  


• Don’t overreact if you hear something that alarms you.  

• You want them to feel you won’t judge them or their friends. 

Keep love and understanding apparent but share how you feel also. If you develop a closer relationship earlier, then your child will understand when you tell him or her how you feel about what’s going on. Remember to always tell it from your point of view, not putting down others or pointing fingers, blaming others for things. That just makes them tune you out pretty quickly.

Remain open, and let them know if they ever need you, even if it is late at night and you don’t feel good about what is going on, all they have to do is call and you will pick them up. No questions asked. They can talk about it later. 


RELATED: How To Know When You Should (And Shouldn't) Apologize

All kids need to feel empowered to talk about emotions

I have spent many years working with teens and families as a nurse in a busy level I trauma center, and as a singer/songwriter bringing music to kids in runaway shelters, probation camps, juvenile halls, Boys and Girls Clubs, and more. One thing I know for sure is teens don’t listen to lectures — but they love music. When engaging them in the discussion of the stories in the songs, I have an opportunity to teach about the importance of being able to talk about feelings, set goals, and let go of past hurts and anger. 

After each session, we have the kids fill out a program evaluation and when asked what they feel are the problems facing teens and families today, they have a lot to say. You would be surprised at the way these kids identify issues and share their thoughts. Many of them say communication in families is a big problem and say there is no listening, don’t feel loved or respected.


Others come from dysfunctional families with drug and alcohol problems. Peer pressure, gangs and abuse are problems also listed. They are so appreciative of someone who listens and wants to know what they think.  

After reading their comments over the years, I remain committed to continuing to teach others about the importance of the little things that can easily become big things if not addressed. It is clear that many of these kids who are struggling and unable to make progress in their life were not taught or shown the way to say I’m sorry when mistakes were made.

They never had the chance to talk about what was causing their anger and resentment so they hold on to it. They never had that feeling of being safe and loved by parents or caregivers who listened to them and shared their own feelings when needed. 

There are many agencies across the country working with young people who have made bad decisions that have led them to more problems. Just setting the right example for our own kids and their friends can help. It takes all of us. My motto: Every kid in trouble needs a special angel. We all have it in us to be one.  


RELATED: How To Be Truly Terrible At Apologizing

Suzanne Geimer is an RN and singer/songwriter with extensive experience specializing in reaching at-risk teens through music. She is also the founder of Special Angel Inc.