Repairing Your Reationship With Your Child
Every parent makes mistakes in their life; many of these mistakes concern how we are parenting our child. Parenting is a tough job, and when we make mistakes, they can be seriously damaging to the child and ourselves.
When damage has been done, work on repair needs to begin. Many people tend to want to “rehash” the mistake, event, or argument that caused the damage. There may need to be an apology for the damage, but an apology and “rehashing” alone will not fix the basic problem for long. In fact, “rehashing” often just leads to another round of arguments and hard feelings.
On big basic problem for parents is that they usually have not “updated” their parenting to fit their child’s needs. Just like when people get more training for their job outside of the home, parents need to update and change the way they are parenting their children as the children change and grow.
It is that “changing and growing” that often is the cause of the problems between parent and child. It is hard to stop thinking of your ten year old as a five year old, or your ten year old as a fifteen year old. From year to year, what the child needs from us as parents changes. If we do not change, our children will act out to let us know that we are not giving them what they need. The fifteen year old will begin to rebel more and more if we keep treating them as if they were ten.
Of course, that fifteen year old might be acting like they are ten! If this is the case, then you need to read another article of mine called: Enhancing Maturation in Emotionally Delayed Adolescents.
Arguments that hurt between parents and children are not usually really about the “stuff” of the argument. The problem is usually about the two of you “butting heads”. When people are very close to each other, like you and your child are, it is harder to “hold on to yourself”. You want the best for them so much, and it seems that they just won’t cooperate! But forcing them, threatening them, and grounding them does not work, does it?
Then you need to learn a new approach. What you need to do, strangely enough, is to learn to “hold on to yourself” when you are in contact with your child. “Holding on to yourself” means that you don’t become overwhelmed with your feelings or your child’s feelings when you are with them or think about them. It also means that you are brave, and tell them the things they need to hear, and give them the rules that they need to have, even though you might be frightened that if you do these things, they will be angry with you, or they will act out, or run away, or even not love you anymore.
Holding on to yourself is the very first step in making the repairs to your relationship with your child. There are many more steps, and they are all hard work. But they are worth it, and they do work.
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Welcome to the professional website of W. E. Krill, Jr. M.S.P.C. Bill is an experienced counselor with children, teens, families, adults, and couples. He specializes in treating children and adults who have PTSD as a result of interpersonal trauma.