FIRST WE RUPTURE, THEN WE REPAIR

There are times that we yell at the kids.  Let’s be clear.  There might be a lot of times we yell at the kids.  Sometimes the yelling or snapping or frustration might feel warranted, sometimes it is not, some parenting models say that you should never yell at your kids.  That was NOT my house.

When you do something crappy, or over-reactive, or make a big old mistake with your kids it is referred to as a ‘rupture in the relationship’.  There is a little wound in the bond you share with them, maybe some hurt feelings, or some anger (or a lot of anger).  This could be from the parent yelling at the child or it could be two parents yelling at a eachother in front of the child.   A rupture comes from something that doesn't feel good.  

Photo by Choreograph/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Choreograph/iStock / Getty Images

After a rupture there comes a beautiful opportunity to do a repair.  Also, something we likely do often, but I’ve recently come to know how very important repairing really is.  A good repair could be an honset apology, an explanation, checking in to see how your child is doing, and making what went wrong to feel ok again.  Making things feel better.  A repair is the parent going back to take responsibility and acknowledge that what happened did not feel good. 

Ruptures happen.  Often.  To all of us.  Here is the very good news: A relationship is often stronger and closer if it has experienced a rupture and then a repair

To rupture is inevitable.  To repair is to be vulnerable, to be human, to be accountable, to be humble, to express that the relationship and person are so important that you are willing to put down your sword and shield and ask forgiveness for your misbehaviour.  This is teaching your child how to be a good, accountable human.  People screw up.  And it’s OK.  It’s even better if you apologize. 

Relationship rupture with no repair does not feel good.  You know, when someone does something rude or hurtful and then pretends everything is totally normal, as if it never happened.  In my family, we had a big old rug with all sorts of lumps and bumps under it.  It was a collection of ruptures that I just wasn’t sure where to put because they were never addressed.

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images

So, go out in the world and make mistakes.  Screw up.  I’m pretty sure that’s actually what we are supposed to be doing.  That is what makes us human.  Just apologize.  I'm not advocating, of course, for you to yell at your kids.  Try to be nice.  But, when it happens, because it does happen, it is going to be OK.  It might just be better because you repaired. Life is hard.  Giving your children attuned, loving attention 30% of the time is enough and when you do something you regret with your kids, and then make it better, your relationship will be closer for it. 

I’m down with perfectly imperfect parenting because it creates kids that know that they are imperfect too.  They are imperfect and loved and lovable and important.  Let yourself off the hook.  You are doing great.