Rupture and Repair

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.

Let’s let them rest in our love.

Monday Night Dinner Party

My family hosts a dinner party every Monday night. We call it the Monday Night Dinner Party. It started because we wanted to have my husband’s brother over for a family dinner on a regular basis. Monday seemed like a good night to do it—there’s not much happening on Monday nights, it seems. Soon, we started inviting neighbors, old friends we hadn’t seen in a while, and new friends we wanted to get to know to come as well.

The thing I love about the practice of the Monday Night Dinner Party is that we have a built-in rhythm of connecting with people over food. In a world in which everyone is busy all the time, we have carved out a space and time every week when we know we will gather around our very large table and linger over good food (usually), good wine (often), and great conversation (always!).

When we became parents, this practice became even more precious to me. It was one night a week when I knew I would get to enjoy time with grown ups. Our Monday night bedtime routine is more relaxed. Sometimes, the kids get to watch a movie after they are in their jammies, just so we adults can enjoy sitting around the table talking with one another. Other times, our guests get involved with the bedtime routine, reading books aloud with the kids.

It takes a village to raise a family. And the Monday Night Dinner Party has given our “village” a more intimate opportunity to be part of our children’s lives. It’s been amazing to watch our kids settle in to the rhythm of weekly dinner parties. They now help set the table, engage guests in conversation, and learn by example what hospitality can look like.

Ever since I was in my 20’s, when I was single and living in Richmond, VA, and then New York City, I have loved having people over. Thankfully, my cooking has evolved a lot over the years. No longer is spaghetti my go-to meal. I have collected a number of fairly simple, healthy and delicious recipes that are reliable hits with guests. I love setting a table, creating a simple tablescape, and making meal plans and prep. It’s challenging at times, with three children (sometimes more) vying for my attention while I’m trying to get the meal ready. But that has forced a kind of culinary creativity and preparation that has given me some creative satisfaction.

In coming posts, I will share recipes, hosting tips, and dinner party insights. My ultimate hope is that you might be inspired to start hosting your own regular dinner parties. The world needs more of those.