Parenting is tough. That’s not a secret. Children and parents do not always see eye-to-eye, regardless of how old they are. Having a fight with your child is natural, but it is important to reconnect with him or her once the argument is over. This helps strengthen your family bond, and it emphasizes how important your child is in your life. Whether you’ve had a bad day or your child has been particularly defiant, you can use these tips from our Detroit family counseling center to reconnect with your child after a fight.
Approach With An Apology When Applicable
If the argument with your child started because you were feeling irritable, stressed, or overwhelmed, you can start the reconnection process with a simple apology. This shows that you are accountable for your actions, which will teach your child to behave the same in the future. For instance, you may say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry for reacting the way I did. I should have given you a chance to explain the entire situation to me. I’m ready to listen now.”
Of course, you don’t have to apologize in every situation. If your child was blatantly in the wrong, you have every right to be upset and disciplinary to prevent your child from doing or saying the same thing again. With that in mind, make sure you take time to assess how you personally contributed to the start or escalation of the argument so you can own up to your actions just like you would want your child to own up to his or hers.
Have A Do-Over
Life doesn’t always give you second chances, but families do. One of the beauties of the unconditional love between a parent and child is the fact that you can re-do mistakes without judgment from your family member. In this case, you may want to have a simple do-over. After cooling off for a moment, you can talk to your child about how the argument got out of hand and agree to a “truce” of sorts. “Hey, can we start over? I don’t think we took the right approach to this.” As long as you both enter the new conversation with an open mind, you should have a positive result.
If you feel yourself getting upset once again in your do-over, try to control your tone and phrasing. Your child will feed off your emotions, so it is best to keep them as calm and approachable as possible.
Hug It Out
Children often need a physical reconnection after an argument – something that validates that you still love them and everything is going to be alright. Think back to episodes of The Brady Bunch or Full House where family members hug one another after a disagreement. This may seem silly on television, but it does wonders for helping a family stay connected after an argument. No matter what happened between you and your child, a loving hug may be able to take the tension away.
If you are not in the mood for a full-blown hug, you may be able to establish that physical connection by sitting next to your child and reading a book. You may give your child a kiss on the head and talk about how you don’t like arguing with him or her. The end goal is to help your child realize that even when you’re mad at one another, there is still plenty of love to go around.
Find A Middle Ground
There is always room for negotiation, whether you’re talking to a toddler or a teenager. One of the biggest processes we work on in our Metro Detroit family counseling programs is helping families learn how to communicate with one another. Parents must learn to listen to their children just as much as children must listen to their parents. It’s all about finding a middle ground without necessarily giving in to your child’s every request. Ask your child what he or she thinks a good compromise would be: “I want this right now, but you want that. What do you think we can do so both of us are happy?” Hopefully, the two of you can come up with a winning plan for everyone.
Identify The Root Cause Of The Argument
What is really going on here? What’s the bottom line? Your child may seem upset about one thing when really it is a reaction to something else going on. For instance, you getting upset about his or her bad grades may spark an argument because the bad grades are the result of bullying or childhood anxiety. These underlying causes aren’t always easy to pinpoint, but they will do wonders for helping you connect with your child. In every situation, try to figure out what the real issue is behind the anger, defiance, or outburst, and then work on ways to fix that problem moving forward. Your child counselor in Metro Detroit can help you work through these issues as a family so you can see success as quickly as possible.