Many of us are tempted to withhold love and affection when we are mad at our kids. That is the exact opposite of what we need to do. We need to press in and love unconditionally. We need to be the grown-ups, set the example, set the tone, and model security.
It’s really, really hard to do sometimes. But it’s worth doing the hard work to figure out a way to show love and affection even when we are angry.
Deep breathing helps. Self care is a must.
Don’t get me wrong: sometimes we need to separate ourselves from a child who is pushing our buttons or wearing us down.
But don’t let the rupture in the relationship be the end of the interaction.
Have a plan for what it’s going to look like to repair the burned bridge between you and your child.
His behavior + your negative reaction = the fire that burns the bridge between you.
Take the time you need to calm down, take a moment to pray, drink some water or some tea, create a calming ritual for yourself, and then FOLLOW UP with your child. Meet them in their room once you’re both calm and remind them that you love them, you are committed to them, and they are important to you.
One of my therapists called this the “Rupture and Repair” model. I’m not sure who first coined that term (if you know, please comment below and tell me—I tried to find out via Google, but just came across a LOT of articles that use the phrase/concept.)
Resist piling on with a lecture.
Love them to wholeness—don’t wait until they’re whole to love them.
Show them what it looks like to be emotionally healthy and to handle conflict in a restorative way.
They are not going to know how to do this unless we teach them.
They’re just not.
They are not going to be lectured to emotional health.
They are not going to be consequenced to emotional health.
Our kids will learn emotional intelligence by watching us us. What are we modeling for them?
As Dr. Gordon Neufeld has pointed out, our kids will either rest in our love or feel like they have to work for our love.
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