The relationship between a parent and a child is incredibly valuable. This relationship is one that nurtures the emotional, social and physical development of the child. But often even the best of intentions are not enough to avoid strain and even fights between parent and child. If the relationship has become strained or tense, it is important to initiate reconciliation. But how exactly do you mend a broken relationship with your child?
While you may not be fully to blame for the conflict, the initial reconnection may be up to you. Below are some tips to keep in mind as you seek to reconcile.
How to mend a broken relationship with your child
Acknowledge the conflict
It is very important to acknowledge that something is wrong. Take a moment when you are both calm and discuss with your child that you have observed the conflict and how you feel about it. Your child may react in a defensive way and may even disagree with you. However, it is important to stay calm and to not force your opinion onto your child.
Ask how your child is feeling
Children want to know that their feelings and opinions matter. Therefore, it is essential to ask your child how they are feeling and what they believe could change. It may be necessary to reassure them that their feelings are valid and that they are allowed to feel upset or angry.
Do something together
Once you both had an opportunity to discuss your feelings, take some time to do something that you both enjoy together. This can be to go out for a meal, to cook together or to go for a walk. For younger children, engaging in play can be a good idea. This will relieve some tension and give you both the opportunity to have some fun together.
Reflect on incidents
After some time, it may be necessary to reflect on the incident to evaluate both your feelings. There may still be some issues that need to be resolved. However, this reflection should always be approached with love and utmost care.
Mending a broken relationship can take time and this is normal. Allow both of you to work through your feelings and take plenty of time to discuss the situation. Remember to never force the repair. At times, it may seem like your efforts are not making a difference, but every small step in the mending process is a win.
When to get professional help
If the broken relationship between you and your child is due to mental health concerns or if it’s just not getting any better, it is advisable to get help from a professional. Therapists are skilled and experienced to help you and your child build renewed trust, learn new coping skills and engage in healthy discussion. Remember: It’s never a sign of weakness to seek professional. Rather, it’s a sign that you value and understand the importance of your relationship with your child.