It doesn’t matter what age they are, it’s never a nice feeling to fight with your children.
Regardless of who was in the wrong, you’re left with a pain in your heart, a pit in your stomach and a desperate need to make things right.
Of course, those feelings might also be battling with a sense of self-righteous anger and frustration at your child’s behaviour.
However, it’s always in everyone’s best interests to put an end to the animosity between you before the tension spreads to the rest of the family.
Here are a few ways to help you reconnect with your child after a fight:
1. Remove yourself from the heated situation
If you’re in the middle of a shouting match with your child and you can only feel your fury increasing, it’s time to step away and physically remove yourself from the room.
Take some time to cool off, breathe deeply and structure what you want to say in your head so you don’t blurt out something you end up regretting.
If you accused your child of doing something they didn’t do, it’s important that you apologise straight away.
However, even if you weren’t responsible for the row erupting, you’re the adult in the situation and you need to apologise for whatever role you played in the fight.
3. Be the bigger person
Even if you’ve apologised, don’t be surprised if your child isn’t ready to make amends immediately. They might think they’re in a position of power but they’re not really. If they give you the silent treatment, don’t engage.
Just keep talking to them and if they don’t reply, acknowledge the silence by saying something like, ‘Still not talking to me? Ok, well, I’m sure you’ll talk when you’re ready,’ and carry on as normal.
4. Talk about what caused the fight
If you and your child clash about her going to her friend’s house for the night, there’s probably more to it than just the sleepover. Once you’ve had the fight, sit down and figure out what it is that’s bothering you both.
For your teen, she might see it as you keeping her from her friends and worsening her social situation. For you, it could be about what’s going to happen at the sleepover, whether it’s chaperoned and/or who else will be there.
5. Explain your side
It’s very hard to stay mad at someone who has your best interests at heart and has a very logical reason for fighting with you over something.
It might feel unnatural to be vulnerable with your child about your worries but if you treat them as an equal, chances are they’ll respond much more maturely to your request.
At the very least, they will see where you’re coming from and help to put your mind at ease.
6. Ask their opinion on how to solve the problem
In order to keep the peace, it’s good to brainstorm together to think of ways that you can avoid fights in the future.
If you child comes up with an idea on their own, they will be much more likely to do it than if you impose strict rules or guidelines.
Tell them you love them
It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s the truth and it will probably diffuse a heated situation faster than anything else.
Even if your child is still mad, at least they’ve heard you and they know that whatever happens, you’re there to listen and forgive them when they’re ready.
7. Do something fun together
The last thing you want is for your child to associate you with nagging, fighting or tension. So, with that in mind, if you’ve had a row, you should have a positive experience to counteract it.
Go to a match, get your nails done, have a day at the beach, grab a hot chocolate and go for a walk in the park… It doesn’t have to be fancy but make sure it’s something you will both enjoy!
8. Talk to someone you trust
Fighting with your child can be a very emotional experience for some parents and even if things between you are good again, that doesn’t mean that you won’t still be carrying some residual guilt, shame or frustration.
It’s important to vent your feelings so find someone you trust, who will actively listen to you and who can empathise with what you’re going through.