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So You Lost Your Cool, Big Time. Now What?
How to Repair Your Relationship with Your Toddler After Losing Your Sh*t
Here’s the thing no one tells you about parenting: It’s hard AF.
Here’s the second thing no one tells you about parenting: Your kiddo will come out of the womb with a Ph.D. in pressing your buttons. Oh sure, they don’t do it right away. They’re too busy hypnotizing you with their baby smell. (We’re onto you, babies!)
And the third thing no one tells you about parenting? Sometimes, despite all of our best efforts to be the cool, calm, confident caregiver we know we can be, we straight up lose our sh*t.
Yeah, we said it. Sometimes the stress is too much. Sometimes the pressure gets too high. Sometimes you just can’t handle the incessant whining, the constant requests, and the utter lack of disregard your toddler has for your personal space. And instead of taking a deep breath, or giving yourself a hot second to decompress, you just lose your sh*t. It happens - and yes, it happens to *all* of us.
Ugh, those moments are the woooooooooooorst. Not only have you completely lost your ever-loving mind, but also you’ve taken it out on your kiddo, and now the guilt and shame you feel for snapping and yelling and having your own tantrum are carving out a pit in your stomach and keeping you up. All. Night. Long.
Sweet warrior parent, we feel you because we are you.
Being toddler experts doesn’t exempt us from losing our cool too. We reach the end of our rope and feel ragey and sometimes shout at our kids. Know why? Because we are human. And you are too.
Losing your sh*t happens, friend. And when it does, it is easy to feel like all is lost. But we’re here to tell you it isn’t. You can repair your relationship with your toddler, and it is quicker and easier than you might think. We can’t promise you’re never gonna lose your cool again, but we can promise this apology script will help you take the right steps toward reconnecting with your little one.
STEP 1:
Start With Sorry
“I want to say I’m sorry for yelling at you today.”
Saying “sorry” to your toddler does more than just repair the relationship; it also shows your toddler what it looks like to take ownership of one’s behavior. It’s human nature to think of allllll the reasons why your behavior is actually someone else’s fault (ouch), but a genuine apology starts with owning our choices. When you lead with “I’m sorry” you teach your child a powerful relationship-repairing skill that will serve them for years to come.
STEP 2:
Tell the Story
“I was feeling frustrated, and I yelled at you.”
Telling the story simply means connecting your feelings to your actions. Remember, we’re teaching our children all feelings are okay, and this truth extends to you too! When you tell the story, there’s no need to go into great detail, even if the road to your blow-up involved a variety of plot twists. Keep it simple!
STEP 3:
Acknowledge the Feelings
“You probably felt sad when I yelled at you.”
So much of parenting is about connecting the dots for your toddler’s rapidly developing brain and giving them language for feelings they can’t yet name. Once you’ve acknowledged and okayed your own feelings, it’s time to articulate the impact of your actions on your toddler’s feelings.
STEP 4:
Reinforce Your Love
“I love you so much.”
Toddlers need security. (Honestly, same.) And in the absence of security, they feel anxious and unsure, which can lead to a host of undesirable behavior. So it makes sense to make space in your apology to reassure them of your unconditional love. It may seem almost too simple, and you may wonder if your toddler even hears it. They do. So don’t skip this part!
STEP 5:
Teach the Coping Skill
“The next time I feel frustrated, I’m going to take
three deep breaths to handle my big feelings.”
Wrap up your apology by talking about how you’ll handle things differently the next time you have these feelings. What you’re teaching and modeling in this moment is just as valuable as the apology itself. Not only does your kiddo feel loved, but also they’ve just watched their favorite human in the whole wide world model how to:
1. Make a mistake 2. Process big feelings 3. Offer a sincere apology 4. Problem-solve 5. Embrace opportunities for growth
All together this apology script takes less than a minute to implement,
but its impact lasts much, much longer.
Restore Your Parent Heart
Repairing the relationship with your toddler is only half the equation. Parenting toddlers ages 1-6 isn’t just about taking care of them; it’s also about taking care of Y-O-U. Our best-selling online course, Winning the Toddler Stage, contains an entire section designed to help you release shame and restore your heart:
Three steps to take when you hit your breaking point Identifying your “lose your sh*t” triggers Finding your restore strategy How to do it differently the next time
Prioritizing yourself is a critical step to being the cool, calm parent you want to be.
Let us be your personal hype-team.
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