If you want to start having a new, different, relationship with your child, start where you are today. Now.
First off, take a long and extensive moral inventory of it yourself.
Then, sit down and discuss the relationship to date.
Don’t start by talking about all the things he’s/she’s done wrong, start by talking about the things that you’ve done wrong or could’ve done better, and then as a natural consequence he/she may start talking about her side.
Be open and honest and say, “Look, I’ve made a lot of mistakes”.
For me personally, I’ve got a great relationship with my son but of course I occasionally make mistakes, and I’ll say to him, “Daddy is actually really sorry that he did that.”
Although he’s young, he’s almost 5-years-old, we can sit down and talk about things.
I’ll say, “I know I yelled at you before and I shouldn’t have yelled at you and I’m really sorry. I hope you can forgive me.”
It’s at the point now where he says to me, “It’s okay Dad, I understand. I get it.”
I’ll say, “Dude, thank you. I appreciate that.”
Now he knows that as a practice, so now I find that when he does things that he perhaps shouldn’t do I don’t have to tell him not to do them.
He’ll actually come to me and say, “Daddy, you know that thing that I did before… I just want to say that I’m sorry I should not have done it, and I hope you can forgive me.”
Whatever opinion you have about the forgiveness part of this is, it’s interesting that he adopts the behaviour.
This creates a very open framework for that communication, and it’s a clear demonstration of responsibility and accountability.
In my world when good people f*ck up they apologise, and they try to make amends and that’s why I do this with my son.
He has a good level of tolerance for me and other people from these behaviours he’s adopting as his own.
So, I say start from scratch and start from where you are if you’re looking to create a better relationship with your child.
Don’t pretend that nothing has happened.
Kids don’t forget, they remember.
Look, we’re the ones that f*ck the kids up, and most issues that adults are dealing with in their adult life are issues that their parents created. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m saying in most cases that’s how the world works.
That’s our responsibility as parents, is to help our kids do whatever work is required to help them overcome whatever issues that they’ve got, that we may have brought into their life.
A great way to do that is through open and honest communication, open and honest vulnerability, accountability and responsibility.
Just by showing kids what it looks like to be wrong, to apologise, and to take account for the things that you shouldn’t have done so that they can say to themselves, “Wow, I felt that that was wrong and you’ve always fought to say you were right, but now you’re saying you’re wrong, and that feels really right.”
The level of connection you can create just with that moment could be epic, so go for it.
Don’t muck about, make it right.
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