How to Repair Your Relationship with Your Child When You Blow It

During the first 25 years of my life I can count how many times I lost my temper, really got angry, on one hand—then I got married. Hold on now, it’s not all my wife’s fault. In fact it’s my problem not hers. Before marriage I either ignored my emotions or withdrew from the irritant so that I wouldn’t lose my cool. Not so easy when this other person we marry invades our space resisting conforming to our demands.

Over 20 plus years of marriage I have given the Holy Spirit plenty of material to work with to teach me how to repair my relationship with Danielle quickly. Even though I still hurt Danielle by getting angry, making stupid decisions and committing hurtful actions, we are better at repairing our relationship.

Then about three years ago a little person entered into our little nuclear family, and the dynamics changed over night. He was eight-months-old when CPS placed him in our home, so he had the typical needs any baby has.

Then he began to talk. And express his opinions; then his demands. He now argues with us and throws full out tantrums when he doesn’t get his way.

You know what I am talking about. I know you do. Preschoolers try to take over the household; think they somehow know everything; act like little crazy people when they don’t get their way…and if I am not careful I join him. I make demands, argue and fall down on the floor kicking and screaming!

I truly go insane for a few moments. When I come back to my senses I realize that I have done more damage. I have blown it with my son.

I am trusting that if you are a parent, you know what I am talking about. It’s hard to admit, and I can easily feel as if I am the worst parent in the world. But I am learning that my blowing it can lead to something very good and healthy for me and my son—The opportunity to repair the relationship.

So how can we repair our relationship with our children when we blow it?

Own your wrong actions and ask your child for forgiveness. Simple and straight to the point.

Here is an exercise from Empowered to Connect that will help:

Practice making mistakes with your child (not intentionally, of course) and repairing them so that you and your child can grow and learn, and your connection will strengthen. Choose a two to three day period when you will be with your child for most of the day. Over the course of these days, be mindful to repair each and every mistake you make when interacting with your child. Whether you lose your temper, raise your voice, speak sarcastically, become frustrated, cut them off, fail to give them voice, ignore them, hurt their feeling, etc. Regardless of whether the mistake is big or small, intentional or unintentional, be sure to quickly, humbly, and sincerely repair each and every mistake you make.
As you do this, make a note of any observations that stand out, particularly in terms of your own feelings and your child’s response (to both your mistake and your repair). Also make a note of any changes in your relationship with your child that you witness throughout the course of this time.

Any time I humbly admit to my young son that my actions were wrong and ask him to forgive me, he quickly responds with child-like sweetness, “Yes Daddy, I forgive you”. Then he usually follows that with something like, “We don’t yell in this house!”

Yeah buddy, you are right, we shouldn’t yell in this house. But more importantly whenever we do, we quickly make it right in this house.

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Watch Amy Monroe, from Empowered to Connect share her experience with repairing her relationship with her children:


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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “How to Repair Your Relationship with Your Child When You Blow It

  1. When my daughter was about 10 I realized that too often I raised my voice and talked to her in a demeaning way. While her actions or misbehavior at times were incorrect and required that they be pointed out and corrected, to speak to her in a derogatory instead of a correcting and teaching manner was inappropriate on my part. Upon the realization of my error in my approach to dealing with her vocally, I talked to her and apologized. Additionally, I told her what I was doing wrong in my corrective measures and informed her that should I ever speak to her in that manner she was to look me right in the eyes at that very moment and tell me “Daddy, you’re not supposed to talk to me that way.” She used that tactic, too. It immediately made me refocus how I approached and dealt with the situation that was bringing about the discipline and correction. I’m very happy to say that she hasn’t had to say that in a long time. It helped me by pointing out immediately my error, but it also helped her in that she knew she had the right to correct me if necessary. I truly believe it helped the parent-child relationship as well. I’m very fortunate and blessed that she has been an easy girl to rear, has caused no problems within the family and is responsible and caring for and about others. I’ve made sure that she has always been in church, she’s always attended a Christian school, and we incorporate Biblical teaching into our lives constantly. We don’t do much Bible study together, but I take the approach of Deuteronomy 11 and teach her in all aspects of daily life – when you lie down, arise, walk by the wayside. We discuss events, actions at school, items we both deal with and what Scripture has to say about those things. Giving her authority to correct me when she was younger has allowed both of us to grow closer and she knows she can use Scripture to teach me today on aspects of life just as I do with her. It required admitting my errors to her and being humble, as Scripture says to do. However, the benefits and dividends from that little investment in her at that time have been phenomenal. I appreciate your writings Kenny, they are thought provoking and informative. Keep up the great work and don’t grow weary of it during the process. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Thank you for your encouragement Deloy!
      I appreciate you sharing your journey with your daughter. Your willingness to humbly admit your mistakes and allow her to have “the authority” to correct you no doubt empowered her to make good decisions as well.
      Good job modeling humility and repentance to her!

  2. Hi Kenny,

    Great piece and topic. However, I believe, the repair goes for any and all relationships. We tend to be harshest with the ones we love and who are closest to us. We have the expectation that they will “understand” and not be hurt by our words and actions. I challenge your readers to make this practice a way of life.

    Please give Danielle my love.

    Love and miss you brother.

    2 Corinthians 2:4-6

    “You’re not the only one who’s made mistakes
    But they’re the only things that you can truly call your own” Billy Joel