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Rupture and Repair

What to do when things go wrong!

Have you ever had a day when you find yourself responding to your child in a way that doesn't perhaps align with your values? Maybe you were feeling irritable and snapped, or maybe you shouted at them? Of course you have, you're human and you have your own set of emotions to contain as well as theirs. It's a lot. On days where we have had a broken night of sleep, or we haven't had time to eat breakfast, or we are worried about someone or something, our frustration threshold and resilience is depleted and we can find ourselves 'rupturing' our relationship with our child.

On days like this you may feel like a bad parent. You're not, and here's why.

Now, this is important: ALL relationships experience ruptures. It is imperative that we teach our children how to manage these ruptures in a way that supports healthy emotional development AND healthy relationship maintenance. The way that we do that is to model and teach the tools required to 'repair' any damage caused to the relationship by the rupture.

Here's the best bit: it's easy once you know how, although it will require some humility.

To repair your relationship with your child you need to apologise. Acknowledge that you didn't responded in the right way, and that you should have listened more carefully to what they needed. By offering this tiny token of reparation you are allowing your child to feel seen, validated and respected. You see what you should have done, they were right to feel upset by your actions and you respect them enough to admit that you were wrong.

It's a small offering that is profoundly powerful to a child. Take a moment to pause and think if you have any childhood hurt and what it would mean to you for your parent or carer to have apologised...

If you are able to consistently repair the ruptures in your relationship you're teaching your child how to many conflict in a safe and healthy way. You're providing them with the tools to demonstrate how disagreements don't have to spiral into catastrophe, and that they can be recovered from. It's an important and valuable life skill.

We all get it wrong sometimes, you're not alone.

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