Tips and Resources to Help Keep Your Nervous System Calm During the Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place Times

Even if you're a nervous system regulation ninja, times like this can get us dysregulated. And the health of our nervous system impacts our patience levels, our anxiety levels, our reactivity, our ability to stay present, our sleep, our productivity...and, because our...

Tips To Calm Your Nervous System “In The Moment”

Bring your attention to your physical sensations in your body Feel the chair under your butt, your feet on the ground. Notice your breath and what it does. Pay attention to sensations in your body - heat, coolness, tingling, tension. Put your attention there. Notice...

How to Make Sure Your Kids FEEL Unconditionally Loved

I know you love your kids. Unconditionally. The real question isn’t whether we love our kids, but rather – do they FEEL loved unconditionally. You may be thinking, “Of course they do!” But so often I find that we make love and acceptance conditional—without even...

15 Tips to Stay Connected to Your Tweens and Teens

The most common theme with my clients who have kids aged 8 and up is their concern that their relationship is changing and their fear that they’ll lose their close connected relationship with their kids as they get older. My experience and research tells me that we...

Why I Ignore My Kids

The other day my son came home from school and I ignored him. Or that’s what it might have looked like. But really, I was connecting on his terms. Read more Expanded Views on Parenting. It kills me a little bit. When my kids come home, I want to check in: “How was...

Who Am I to Tell You How to Parent?

Against my better judgment and intentions, I still jump in with solutions even when I know my kids should figure stuff out on their own. I still give too much advice. Just tonight at bedtime my son told me something and I didn’t handle it the way I wished I would...

How to Respond When Your Kids “Disrespect” You

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How To Raise Kids To Be Prepared For This Wild New World

If we want our kids to be successful, emotionally healthy, and happy in this wild, new world we live in, we need to shift the parenting paradigm. Read more Expanded Views on Parenting Whether you’re looking into the eyes of your new baby, bringing your child to...

How to Stop Reacting and Start Responding to Your Teen

Parents and kids have the ability to trigger each other as no one else can. Read more Expanded Views on Parenting. “You have no idea what a bad day I had…I have no patience for you right now…” “What were you thinking!?!?” “You need to learn a lesson about respect,...

I Screwed Up! Repairing Trust With Your Child

Recently I was triggered and totally reacted to my son in a way I wished I had not. In the midst of my temper tantrum, I noticed his expression and could see that he was really impacted, I could see the sadness in his eyes and the discomfort in his body language. Read...

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Recently I was triggered and totally reacted to my son in a way I wished I had not. In the midst of my temper tantrum, I noticed his expression and could see that he was really impacted, I could see the sadness in his eyes and the discomfort in his body language.

Read more Expanded Views on Parenting.

I shifted – I took a breath and focused on a calming elongated out breath and made the split second decision to share how I was feeling (rather than what I was thinking).

I began to speak from my heart. I shed a few tears and told him that what this is really about is that as he grows older and is seeking more independence, I miss him and I miss our connection. I told him how his behavior impacts me but also told him that these are my feelings and I’m not not trying to make him feel guilty, rather to express how I’m feeling.

Anger is Sad’s BodyguardI told him that I was grateful to have found the sadness behind my anger. I apologized for my strong reaction.

I ruptured our trust for a moment, but the minute I spoke from my heart, we found our way back to connection and we began to repair trust. Relationships are resilient but we need to do the work to repair trust once it’s been broken. And that requires more than just an apology.

Even you’re committed to responding instead of reacting and not yelling, there will be times when you yell, roll your eyes, have tone, be critical, or act in some way that you aren’t so proud of.

So, how DO we repair trust?

Self-Compassion and Forgiveness
First, you practice a TON of self-compassion. What needs weren’t being met? What were you feeling? What is behind the anger? Start with empathy towards yourself and forgive yourself. The shame cycle is the primary reason we don’t do the real work in repairing trust. Face your shame and forgive yourself. You’re human, so you will screw up.

“To err is human, to forgive divine.” ~Alexander Pope

Repair Trust and Restore Connection
The beautiful thing is that there is a ton of connection that happens in the repair and re-connection. A TON!

Some steps towards repairing trust and restoring connection:

  • Take time to reflect on your experience as well as your child’s. Really see the interaction from your child’s point of view. Think about what issues were triggered and why those issues got activated.
  • Make sure you’re centered and calm before you talk to your child. There’s no rush.
  • In an age-appropriate way, go to your child and state your intention to reconnect.
  • If you have a teenager, you may want to ask them if now is a good time. If they aren’t ready to talk, honor that and try again later.
  • Acknowledge the interaction while trying to be as neutral as possible (“This has been hard for both of us. Can we talk about it?”)
  • Do your best to guess how they must have been feeling and say it out loud to them – “I was imagining that you might have been feeling attacked by me, and I feel sad that I wasn’t listening to your point of view.”
  • Compassionately listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings (without defending yourself). Allow them the space to say whatever they are feeling in a space of non-judgment and curiosity.
  • Remind your child that sometimes people, including parents, flip their lids and act irrationally.
  • Apologize if that feels appropriate. Try not to say “I’m sorry, but you __” Owning your part is far more important than the words “I’m sorry.”
  • Find a way to reconnect with a hug, a high five, a walk, a shared snack or some other way that feels good.
  • Remember, we all screw up! The good news is that struggle builds resilience. So let go of some of the guilt and focus on repairing trust and reconnecting!

Please share below about your experience with repairing trust…do you have any other ways you repair trust with your kids?

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