We’ve all been there: a bad day at work, a nasty commute home, mistakes that could have been avoided; a bad day that simmer and simmers until it finally boils over. But for parents, the guilt that follows can sometimes be worse than the actual events of the day. Here are four ways you can help your family heal after a bad day.
- This one is simple, but can be hard for a lot of folks because it was never modeled for them by their parents: apologize. A sincere apology can go a really long way in rebuilding trust after it’s taken a hit. I like to include an explanation for my behavior when I apologize, not as an excuse, but so my little one knows that what happened was my fault and unrelated to them. Even if your kids are too young to really understand everything you’re saying, they will get your message if it’s loving and kind and they will find it easier to follow your lead and apologize to others as they grow up.
- Talk about what happened; did you lose your temper after a long day at work? have you reached your limit after a long week of fighting between your kids? talk to your child (in an age appropriate way) about what’s going on with you that caused you to have a difficult day. They probably won’t understand the details but they’ll understand that they are important to you and that you care enough about them to explain what’s going on to them. This can help to build a foundation of mutual honesty and respect that will be crucial as your child gets older.
- Spend some quality time together; If you’re both up for it, and there’s enough time left in your day, take 15 or 20 minutes and play together, read a book, dance it out, color a picture, or any other engaging activity they chose. IT doesn’t matter what it is, as long as your engaged and spending time together.
- Give yourself some time, space and grace! The best thing you can do for yourself after a long day, is give yourself a break. Chances are, your frustration escalated because you didn’t give yourself one sooner. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that the structure of my household falls apart completely when I’m struggling physically or emotionally, so I need to prioritize taking care of myself so that im physically able to care for my family. That means, resting when my body needs rest, finding a healthy outlet for the natural stressors of everyday life, and being kind to myself when i make mistakes. Forgiveness can be hard for me, so if you struggle with it too, challenge yourself to identify where you went wrong and what you will do differently going forward. If you have a plan for how to better deal with your emotions going forward, it becomes easier to accept that mistakes, accidents, bad days will happen to everyone and don’t define who we are in the long run.
I hope these tips work for you and your family, and please share any helpful insights in the comments, and as always, Keep Healing, Keep Blooming.