Restoring the Connection: The Key is Repair!!

Parents, we all know conflict with our kids happens within every family. And when it does, there is always a possibility that something is said or insinuated that might be hurtful to each of the parties engaged in the dispute. In each case, whether a parent makes a mistake in the approach to the conflict (wrong timing or mishandled accusation) or in the content of the discussion (misinterpreted words or comments wrongly made in the “heat of the battle”), it is always the responsibility of the parent to follow-up and repair these uncomfortable engagements with their child. This is the model we want our kids to emulate.

A follow-up conversation with your child affirms your relationship with them, and sends a loud and clear message that you can love them just as much when they’ve “blown it” or violated a defined family standard. More importantly, it gives the platform to follow up and correct any mistakes that they might have made in the process and ask for their continued love when you’ve done the same. My encouragement to parents is to move toward your child when you are right; and move toward them quicker when you think that you might have or were perceived to wrongly hurt your child.

Not following up on hurtful actions of confrontations to either correct the mistakes you’ve made or affirm the relationship is what allows conflict to cause damage to your relationship with your child. Remember that you’re not only resolving issues that you have with your child, but, more importantly you are setting the example of conflict resolution and teaching your child how to admit fault, assume a position of humility, and ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoing; all characteristics in a person’s life that are more caught than taught.

This is one of those precious times when your kids get a sample of your example. You could say things like:

“I was wrong in the way I approached you, but I feel strongly about my message. Will you forgive me for that and allow us to talk about it further?”

– “I made some comments that were out of line… I was wrong, and I’d like to start our discussion over… can we do that?”

– “I think what I said came out wrong. I never meant to hurt you. Would you give me a second chance to tell you what I was thinking?”

Remember, all parents blow it, but unfortunately, not all of us were taught to repair by our own parents. You can change that generational pattern, starting today! The next time you see sadness or anger come over your child in response to something you’ve said or done… Take time to say you’re sorry. You’ll be glad you did!


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Toni Allen, M.A., DMin 

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