The juggle is too real y’all. Days are on a seemingly endless loop of parenting demands, home, and work life. And this was before we were in the middle of a pandemic — these feelings are even more heightened now that we are largely restricted to our homes. Anyone else’s patience wearing super thin? We’ve all been there where we lose our temper with our kids or yell. It happens, truly. But what to do after? How do you offer repair with your child after conflict?
Why You Should Apologize To yOur Child
“It’s really important, in terms of repairing any type of conflict, yelling, or disagreements with your child, to apologize,” shares Licensed Clinical Social Worker Maureen Williams.
We’re all human and in acknowledging when we’ve messed up or made a mistake, we provide a safe space — that place of comfort for our children.
However, it can feel really foreign to us to apologize to our children, when our own parents never apologized to us. Some tips for navigating these conversations is to be direct, says Williams. Some example wording she suggests:
For An Older Child:
- “I was feeling frustrated about…”
- “I shouldn’t have yelled…”
- “We didn’t seem to be communicating well in the moment…”
For A Toddler / Younger Child:
According to Williams, you want to try and incorporate some of the behavior that you would have liked to have modeled in that moment. “You want to use words and examples that show them how to regulate.”
- “What could mommy have done differently? You know mommy could have used her words…”
- “Mommy should have taken a minute to calm down…”
How Do You Hold The Boundary During Conflict?
You can and should hold the boundary when your answer is no, even during conflict. Obviously this is way easier said than done, especially when it’s been a day of meltdowns with your toddler or arguments with your teen.
“You can acknowledge the feeling,” says Williams. “And label it for them, but you don’t need to not hold the boundary because then it’s going to send the message: ‘If I throw a fit or yell I’m going to get my way.’”
Example language she suggests:
‘I can see you’re really upset or I can see you’re really frustrated, because you’re not able to have X toy or do X right now. I know that’s really hard for you.’
Holding The Boundary When You’ve Reached Your Limit
We’ve all had those days where it’s one meltdown after the other. You’re burnt out and have reached a breaking point —
“Well you might explode and that’s okay, because you’re human,” shares Williams. “So give yourself some grace.”
You might not be ready to repair immediately after conflict and that’s okay. You might need time to regulate and it’s perfectly fine to let your child know you need a minute to allow yourself to return to a place of calm.
“If you’re not in that place yet to repair, provide comfort, listen to them — just give yourself that time until you are able to provide that because kids will pick up on this,” says Williams.
For more tips and ways to offer repair after conflict, check out our Q&A with Maureen Williams here.
Ravelle Worthington is a wife, momma of three, and the founder of Mommy Brain. Follow her on Instagram here.
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