“I am SO angry right now!!! Why should I give my child another chance, when he’s just going to do it again?!”
You’re not alone if you find yourself feeling frustrated, angry or hurt by your child’s repeated heart-piercing statements or inappropriate actions. As parent coaches, we hear about everything from huge curse-laden screaming matches, to lies about homework and missing curfew, to wrecking the family car, and more. So I truly understand where parents are coming from when they say that they’re having a hard time letting their child’s behavior go, especially after a crisis or breach of trust — and I get how hard it is to give a child a fresh start or another chance.
But the truth is, continuing to hold a grudge ends up giving your child more authority, because you are ultimately sending the message that he or she has the power to control you and your emotions. In the long run, your child learns that you are emotional peers.
So what can you do if you are having a hard time dealing with your own anger and hurt and can’t find a way to move on? Here are some ideas:
Related: For a step-by-step plan on how to start trusting your child again, read Janet Lehman’s, Risky Teen Behavior: Can I Trust My Child Again?
We all make mistakes — parents included. It is part of what makes us human. Another part of what makes us human is our capacity to learn from our mistakes, and change our behavior accordingly. By your willingness to give your child another chance to try again, or to earn that privilege back, you are sending the message that you think your child can behave better, and that he or she is capable of change.
Rebecca Wolfenden is a loving Momma to her son and a dedicated EmpoweringParents Parent Coach. She earned her degree in Social Work from West Virginia University and has been with Empowering Parents since 2011. Rebecca has experience working with children and families in home settings and schools, and has extensive practice working with people of all ages who have survived significant emotional and physical trauma.