REPAIRING THE PARENT – CHILD RELATIONSHIP
As a parent, we all have parenting moments we regret. Our kids know very well how to push our buttons. Instead of remaining calm and composed, we start yelling, blaming, and being hard on our children. Later on, we may feel guilty about our behavior and not know how to react afterward. Here comes the time of repair work between you and your child. It will help her learn how to admit when she is wrong and how to fix the temporary broken relationship.
Here are a few suggestions about how to repair the relationship with your child:
1. Calm all the way down. The first step is to find a way that calms you. Walking, reading, listening to music, taking a shower – whatever works for you. It depends on your personality, the goal being to help your feelings to work their way through, and to settle your nervous system.
2. Invite your child to speak with you. When you are ready to talk, check if your child is. If she is not, let her know that you are and ask her to let you know when she is. If she is ready for a conversation, then start by acknowledging that you made a mistake and would like to fix it.
3. Ask your child how she feels about what happened and more precisely about your behavior. Leave a lot of space to your child to respond. The more she shares with you, the more she processes her emotions and the less she holds on.
4. Let your child know that you regret what you said and the way you said it. Explain clearly what you regret while using feeling words. For instance, you may say “I feel truly sad that I yelled at you.” Apologize to your child and say that you are sorry.
5. Develop a plan to respond differently in the future. When you get triggered, it is hard to stop yourself. However, you need to find a way to calm down your physical reaction. It can help to breathe deeply a few times, to count down from 1 to 10, to step back physically, or to say to yourself a word such as “Freeze”. Once you find the ways to stop yourself (you may need a few steps), then you can work on calming down enough to think rationally and go back to my first suggestion.
Repairing the relationship with your child after rough parenting moments is essential as it helps deepen the relationship with your child, stop trust-rifts from growing, and show how to have empathy. Keep always in mind that you want to model a healthy way of being, not a perfect way of being.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.