Rupture and Repair by Kim Kirk
I have some powerful, freeing news for you today! As a parent, you can make mistakes and not ruin your children! Have you ever had one of those days where you felt like you were failing as a parent? Well, I have had plenty of them! These can be moments of defeat. However, isn’t it so much like God to create a way for even our parenting mistakes to be redeemed?
As a counselor, I really enjoy learning from neuroscience research. For me, it provides a glimpse into the heart and mind of God. I want to give you hope today by introducing you to some recent research called “Rupture and Repair”. A rupture is defined as anything that causes a break in your relationship with your child. An example of a rupture could be something like not getting to spend time with your child due to working late. However, the ruptures we are talking about in this blog are the ones that are ugly—like when you lost your temper and screamed, or when you ignored your child after he/she hurt your feelings. Research shows that a rupture in a relationship that is followed by a repair, actually creates a deepened connection between parent and child. Not only that, but it also builds hope and resiliency in your child. Your child believes in the rupture and repair process and knows that when there is disconnection, there will be reconnection.
So, what does it mean to repair a rupture? First, it starts with you as a parent spending some time humbly reflecting on how your actions have impacted your child. Inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to you during this reflection is a really healthy place to start. Next, repairing means you go to your child stating your desire to reconnect with them. You could say something like, “The past day has been difficult for us and I want to feel connected to you again. Can we talk for a bit?” Third, repairing involves listening to your child’s thoughts and feelings. Note: this is NOT a time to defend yourself, but simply to LISTEN. Your goal on this step is get a glimpse of the perspective of your child. Fourth, you reflect back to your child their experience. This helps them to feel heard and known by you. Fifth, reflect with your child that even parents make mistakes, have meltdowns, act irrationally, etc. and then we need to apologize! The point of an apology is recognizing their experience and also reconnecting with them. Repairing is not the time to explain why you did something or make excuses.
In summary, we are going to make mistakes as parents! But God has provided a way for these mistakes to be used for good: to create an even deeper connection with our child—one that is deeper that before the rupture happened!
One last thing, for you parents that didn’t have much repairing from your own parents, your Heavenly Father longs to repair and heal these hurts. Invite Him into these places. He is a good Father.
Spiritual Health Pastor