This Doesn’t Make It Right

You broke a promise. You lost your temper. You have been way too busy. And so of course, you feel guilty.

What do we do about it? Well, one temptation or coping mechanism is what has come to be called “love bombing.” We shower our kids with kisses. We buy them things. We say on Saturday, I’m not going to work at all and we’re going to have a special day. We fool ourselves—and try to fool them—that these exuberant expressions of affection somehow make up for what we’ve done…or haven’t done. That we could ever believe that we can undo a transgression with a flood of positivity or love or affection is the height of selfishness..

It also doesn’t work. It doesn’t make things right. Not for our kids or for our spouse. When you screw up, you have to own it. You have to address the mistake with your words, and then you have to rectify it with your actions. Which is to say, you have to make changes to prevent that particular mistake from happening again.

Remember, as much as saying your sorry, and lavishing your kids with love and gifts and well-meant promises feels good and feels right—it only feels that way to you. Because fundamentally love bombing is all about you. If you want to truly make it all about them, the best thing you can do is to make the only apology worth making: never doing again the thing you were sorry for in the first place.

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