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Lost your cool with your child? Here are 5 easy steps to reconnect

Parenting during a pandemic means we're going to lose our cool sometimes—it's what happens afterwards that really counts.

how to apologize to your child after yelling due to pandemic stress

Staying calm when our kids aren't is a major challenge even for the most zen parents and even under the best circumstances.

Take a worldwide pandemic, throw in some homeschooling along with a dramatic decrease in downtime to recharge our batteries and suddenly, keeping our cool with our kids goes from a major challenge to seemingly impossible.

We are going to lose our temper sometimes, there's simply no way around it. Like the other day when my older son was falling apart and I just couldn't take it anymore. I snapped and desperately yelled, "Why are you acting like this? Why?!"

I felt like I was in one of those "Calgon, take me away" commercials from the '70s. And I felt terrible for yelling.

The good news is that there are ways to minimize these moments—and there's something we can do to reconnect with your child. In the therapy world it's called "repairing the rupture" or, for the rest of us: an apology.


Taking full responsibility for our actions, giving a sincere, heartfelt apology and reconnecting after a relational rupture is absolutely essential in order to maintain a close connection with our child and to ensure he feels seen, safe, soothed and secure.

In fact, making a repair is the single, most important thing we can do after a not-so-great parenting moment. Here's how to reconnect with your child when you momentarily lose your cool.

The scenario: Your child has pushed your buttons to your breaking point. You've yelled, said something shaming or behaved like a tantruming 3-year-old.

1. Take a breather.

Before you do anything, you must first make sure your nervous system has settled down. Trying to make a repair while you're still in the midst of a limbic system hijack is like trying to fix an airplane while it's flying; you'll have much better luck once you're grounded.

Disengage, take some deep breaths, say a calming mantra, whatever helps you de-escalate.

Once both your and your child's nervous system is back to normal, move on to the next step.

2. Own up.

Making a sincere, heartfelt apology in which you take full responsibility for your actions is the most crucial step in making a repair. While it's a simple concept, the "taking full responsibility" part can be surprisingly hard to do.

The biggest mistake we make when apologizing is using the words but or if:

"I'm so sorry I yelled, BUT you weren't listening and I asked three times to stop hitting your brother."

"I'm sorry I got upset. IF you had just listened and stopped behaving like a maniac, I wouldn't have lost my temper."

Nope! A true apology does not include the words but or if. It does not concern itself with who is to blame, it does not expect forgiveness and it never includes the statement, "I'm sorry you felt that way." (The worst!)

A true apology has five components:

1. Taking full responsibility for your role in the conflict.
2. Giving a truthful explanation for your behavior.
3. Putting yourself in the other person's shoes.
4. Communicating empathy for his experience.
5. Expressing genuine remorse for your actions.

It sounds something like this: "I'm so sorry I got angry, you didn't deserve that. Sometimes it's hard for Mommy to stay calm and I need to work on that. I imagine it's scary when Mommy yells. I love you very much and I'm so sorry I hurt your feelings."

3. Be curious.

After you've apologized, ask your child how they feel. What was their experience like? Did they feel scared when you yelled? Sad? Angry? Get curious about what was going on that caused them to do whatever it was that triggered you.

Resist the urge to rebut, explain or interject. Instead, practice active listening by reflecting back what you hear and validating their experience.

4. Hug it out.

Physical touch is the best way we can reconnect with our child—a warm embrace can often cancel out the negative feelings that arose during the tense interaction. Why? Because tender physical contact releases a hormone called oxytocin which promotes trust and safety.

When we snuggle, cuddle, hold, hug, pat and kiss our kids, they're reassured of our love and are reminded that we're always there for them, no matter what.

5. Let it go.

Once you've gone through these steps and have reestablished the connection with your child, it's time to let it go. There's no use in beating yourself up or ruminating about it.

Modeling self-compassion and self-forgiveness sends a powerful message to our kids. It shows them that we accept our humanness, that we're not perfect and that's ok. We're all works in progress. The goal is to own our mistakes and then learn from them.

When we learn and practice the art of an apology we create a silver lining for our parenting fails. We take our worst parenting moments and we transform them into opportunities to model personal accountability, empathy, and self-compassion- three of the most important things we can teach our children.

Now, more than ever, is a crucial time to put the art of the apology into practice with our kids. They need reassurance that everything is going to be okay just as much as we do.

A version of this post was originally published on SensoryMom.com.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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