But apology is important to all of us, not just between states at odds. How many times have you said or have you heard others say: "All I want is an apology!"
When a co-parenting relationship has been strained by untoward comments or bad behavior, an apology can make things right again. Apologies restore dignity, trust, and a sense of justice. But delivering an effective apology may be more complicated than you realize..and responding constructively to an apology can also be difficult.
Should you always apologize?
In a word, no. Humans have a razor-sharp antennae for insincerity. If you don't feel apologetic, don't apolgize. You will do more harm than good.
What makes an effective apology?
There are four important elements to an effective apology:
- Acknowledge that one's behavior caused hurt, embarrassment or fear. "I am calling to apologize for the things I said yesterday. My comments were out of line an embarrassed you in front of the children. I hurt you unnecessarily."
- Express regret. Although saying "I'm sorry" is not enough for a complete apology, it is a necessary part of rebuilding trust.
- Commit to fixing the problem and not repeating the behaviors. The apology should include a commitment to improved behavior and better self-restraint. "I've learned a lesson here; I won't bring up stuff when I'm upset. And I will fix this with this kids and let them know I messed up, not you."
- Explain why the behavior occurred. Explaining why the behavior occurred may help but only if it does not seem to excuse the bad behavior. "I was upset because all my weekend plans fell apart and I took it out on you. I shouldn't have done that."