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Ideas for Rebuilding Trust With Your Child After a Conflict

Nearly every caregiver has lost their temper or raised their voice at their child in moments of frustration. No matter how much we try to be patient and calm all the time, no one is perfect. When this happens, it’s important to take a deep breath and then continue to build mutual respect between us and our children.

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It can be scary for children when their caregiver raises their voice or loses their temper. They might need extra reassurance, and it may take time to feel secure again. But this is a great opportunity to teach them the importance of apologizing, talking about emotions, and finding healthier ways to cope with big feelings.

Apologize and acknowledge your mistake

It’s important to apologize and acknowledge that raising your voice was not the best response. Use simple, genuine language to apologize and let them know you understand how they might be feeling. For example, say, “I'm sorry I raised my voice earlier. I can see how that might have scared you, and I didn't mean to do that.”

Provide reassurance and emotional support

Children need to feel secure and loved, especially after a stressful situation. Offer comfort by saying, “I love you very much, and I’m here for you.” Or, “You’re important to me, and I want to make sure you know that I care about your feelings.” These messages help mend the emotional bonds between you and your child.

Encourage open communication

Invite your child to share their thoughts and feelings about the situation. You can use phrases like, “Can you tell me how you felt when I raised my voice?” By talking about what happened, you create a safe space for your child to express themselves, which can help foster a stronger bond between you. It also helps the child learn to name and put words to their emotions.

Reflect on their emotions and empathize

Show your child that you understand how they might be feeling. You can try saying, “I can understand why you felt upset when I raised my voice. It's not nice to hear someone yell, and it can be scary.” This approach shows your child that you recognize their feelings and that those feelings are valid.

Offer a solution and a plan for the future

Discuss what actions can be taken to avoid raising your voice in the future. For example, “Next time when I’m feeling angry, I will take a deep breath and count to 10 before I respond. What other ideas do you have?” You can also ask the child to help you by counting together. Including your child in developing this plan helps them feel more in control and empowered, knowing that you’re listening to them.

Rebuild trust through quality time

To further strengthen your relationship, spend one-on-one time with your child doing activities that they enjoy. This will help your child feel loved, valued, and supported.

When you lose your temper, it’s also important to explore what really set off such a big emotional reaction. Maybe you were extra tired from a sleepless night. Perhaps the situation brought up negative feelings from your own childhood. By better understanding what situations can lead to an emotional reaction, you can find ways to regain your steadiness when facing that situation again.

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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