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“Sometimes you volunteer to give up mistakes, sometimes they’re extracted out of you!” says Pastor Rory Shiner of Providence Church.

I’d say the “volunteered” mistakes are better than forcibly extracted stories. “You did this when you were my age…” or, “mum said you were like this when you were young…” is not the most productive line of enquiry.

Can it come back to bite you if you’ve told them a story?

These stories can definitely come back to bite you. But that’s when voluntarily sharing stories at age-appropriate times can be powerful teachable moments. Some of my mistakes are at the PG level, some MA category. I have four boys, so I try to pick stories about mistakes that correlate with their age and what they’re facing at the moment.

When it happens well (sometimes it’s happened badly) it’s out of the heat of the moment Whether it’s going for a drive or kicking a ball and being able to say “when I was at high school I did this…” and to talk them through what you did wrong can be a very powerful teaching tool.

Our kids forget that we were young once, so you can see when you share these kinds of stories they really listen in, their eyes go like saucepans!

How can this be used to teach about apologising?

One of the most important things you can teach your kid is that being a healthy, functional adult includes apologising. There’s a pretty good chance that in the moment when you’re telling your kid to say sorry to someone else they’ll turn around and say “I don’t know how”. This is again another great opportunity to use your arsenal of mistake stories to pull out an example and show them how it’s done.

Don’t just think about past mistakes though, think about your future mistakes too (we know we’re all going to have lots). Another solid way to teach them about apologies is to let them witness as a 3rd party. If you need to apologise to your wife or other kids or whoever, let them witness it. Then they can see first hand how it’s done and that you’re practising what you preach.

Dad Diaries is a weekly segment in which Kirste & Morro chat to an awesome local dad who is just kicking goals in the fathering department. Catch it every Tuesday after 8:30 am!

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