What is it?
We all blow it. We lose our temper. We yell at our kids or hurt their feelings. Even those people that have all the gooey quotes on social media about connected or empathic or loving parenting...they yell. Well, maybe not them. But for the rest of us, it’s human. Did you hear me? It’s human.
The good news? You can always repair. Always.
Thanks to the plasticity of the brain, your children will always respond to positive nurturing. Immediately after your blow up, 30 minutes later, 2 days or a week - you can always repair.
How to Do It?
You simply go back and apologize, make amends, take responsibility for your part. Important note: you are NOT saying that whatever part they had in it is now acceptable, you are not rehashing the incident nor are you groveling.
Rather, you are expressing regret that you took your frustration out on her. The corollary is that you have to mean it - anything short of truly being sorry won’t work. Kids know. Take responsibility for your actions and apologize where appropriate.
Your Script in Action
You just want your child to get into bed or your teen to get off his phone or your tween to finish her math, but he won't.
“HOW COME YOU ARE ALWAY SO…”
“WHY CAN’T YOU JUST….”
“WHEN WILL YOU LEARN TO BE LIKE YOUR BROTHER…”
Repair NOT like this:
"I had such a hard day; everything at work went wrong. And then you wouldn’t brush your teeth which made me mad. I was at the end of my rope—so I yelled at you. I know I shouldn't yell, but wait until you have to go to work every day and then your kid never listens, you'll yell too!"
But like this:
"Hey, I wanted to talk to you about last night. I don’t know what got into me. I had such a hard day; everything at work went wrong. I was tired and at the end of my rope—and I took my frustration out on you by yelling. I am really sorry." (Adapt the rest according to their age…)
You still have to deal with the teeth brush, phone or math problem. But we can change that behavior without shaming. Repair first.
Know that if you’re doing it with teens, they may need some time to stew, and that’s ok.
GOT A MINUTE?
Next time your blow up or just make a mistake, try to repair. Observe the response. Keep practicing because repairing always feels good, and feeling good is what wires in the habit.
Mary Smith Parent Coach is passionate about sharing practical, powerful habits that take one minute with parents to simply and quickly sow the roots of connection and engagement with their children while creating calm in the household.
I've Been There! Sincerely, Mary