Psychologists Share The Never-Too-Late Approach, If You Ever Lost Your Cool With Your Child

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Ever lost your cool with your child? Most parents can relate to that, and there are ways to make amends and heal the bond with your child, no matter how intense the argument or frustration.

If You Ever Lost Your Cool With Your Child, Here’s What To Do

In a recent TED Talk, Dr. Becky Kennedy, a clinical psychologist and author of the bestselling book “Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want To Be,” shared her insights on a crucial parenting strategy called “repair.”

In simple terms, repair is about reconnecting with your child after a moment of disconnection. It’s like hitting the reset button on a heated moment. When parents approach their children with love and understanding after they’ve lost their temper, it can change how their kids remember that event.

Dr. Kennedy explains that memory isn’t just about recalling past events; it’s more like playing a game of telephone. Each time you remember something, your brain modifies the recollection. That’s why therapy can be helpful in processing distressing experiences. When parents apologize and explain what happened, their children start to connect the dots, and the memory becomes less overwhelming.

One essential point to remember is that it’s never too late for repair. Even if you’ve had a turbulent relationship with your child for years, taking steps toward repair can be a game-changer. You don’t have to dwell in guilt and self-blame. Small actions in the right direction can have a profound impact on your child and your relationship.

Some parents may worry that focusing on repair won’t teach children about consequences for their actions. Dr. Kennedy suggests looking at what leads to the so-called “bad behavior.”

Instead of merely reacting to the behavior itself, understanding what’s causing it is a more effective approach. For instance, if your child repeatedly refuses to put on their shoes, address the underlying issue and involve them in finding a solution together.

Repair is not the same as a simple apology. Apologies can close off the conversation, while repair opens the door to communication and understanding. It’s all about making the other person feel valued and strengthening the relationship. It’s about the impact it has on the other person, not just saying, “I’m sorry.”

Sometimes, parenting is a team effort. What if one parent is trying to repair while the other isn’t? Dr. Kennedy suggests that one parent can repair on behalf of the other without blaming anyone.

You can acknowledge what happened and explain that the other parent may have difficulty apologizing. This way, no one is seen as the “bad guy,” and the family as a whole can find relief and understanding.

So, the key takeaway is that repair is a powerful tool in parenting, and it’s never too late to use it. By prioritizing connection over consequences, you can rewrite your child’s memories and build a stronger, more understanding relationship.


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