Many parents fear that if they openly admit a mistake to their child, it will weaken them. The truth is the exact contrary: acknowledging and correcting mistakes strengthens the parents' immensely. The following examples illustrate how parents can do so in highly constructive ways.
A mother, who gave in to her ten-year old son's temper-tantrum in a store by buying the computer game he demanded, came to him together with his father and told him: "We've decided that we don't accept the behavior you displayed yesterday in the store. We're taking the game back to the store. We'll find ways to prevent such situations in the future!"
A widowed father, who regularly let his son skip school when he was anxious or depressed, said to him: "Our family life was badly shaken since your mother died! But we now have to cope in better ways. I won't allow you to skip school anymore! I got in touch with your teacher, and we'll think of ways to help you feel better at school. But staying at home is no option!"
A mother, who agreed with her daughter not to tell the father that the girl had counterfeited her signature, came back to her together with the father, saying: "I understood that I should not have agreed to hide that from your father. We talked it over and we'll sit together with you to think of ways for you to make amends! We'll help you with that, but we'll no longer hide things from each other or from the school!"
The mother of a very anxious boy told him: "In the past I gave in to your demands, because I felt I could not endure your anxiety. But now I know that I can and that giving in to your fears is wrong! If you want, we can look together for a solution. But I won't give in anymore!"
Those parents showed considerable courage in admitting and correcting their mistakes. It was difficult to do it, but they felt much stronger for that. They now knew they could resist pressure, connect to others to cope with a difficult situation, and develop their capacity to endure and persist. They understood that mistakes are never final, but can and should be corrected. What's perhaps no less important: The children started correcting their mistakes as well!