Sometimes, even when we try to be conscious parents, we inadvertently hurt our kids’ feelings. We don’t do it on purpose, but they interpret something and the next thing we know, they are upset.
So what to do in response?
- Take time to really listen: I take the time to curl up on the couch with my son (he still loves to snuggle, sometimes) and acknowledge his feelings, and see what’s really going on for him. It’s important, before I respond with “no I didn’t mean that, ” to understand his feelings.
- Apologize, sincerely: Even if I don’t intend to upset him/her, I’m genuinely sorry when my kids misunderstand something that causes him/her pain – and I make sure to send that message loud and clear.
- Go overboard with the praise: Make an effort to to praise more than you correct. An article I read once said that, to have a successful relationship, the ratio needs to be five positive comments to every corrective/negative one. That’s really hard to do, even when you are trying.
Even parents who intend to be conscious in their relationships with their kids struggle with this sort of thing. The last thing you have to do is to forgive yourself, and know that sometimes things don’t play out the way we intend.
Here’s the good news: making up for it can be awfully fun – and a good excuse to reconnect with your child.