Being a parent or carer is not an easy job. It's 24/7 and there isn't a manual to guide you. We all do the best with what we have. And it can be quite exhausting. That's why many times we end up doing and saying things under the guise of 'parenting' that upon reflection, we wished we had done better. But it doesn't matter, not one bit, if you visit the situation again by discussing it with your child.
So, say you are tired and grumpy and your child refuses to tidy away when you need him or her to. And you snap. We have all done it. We know it's not great and we hope our raised voice will cut to the chase and make our child jump to it. Sometimes it does work (although we feel some guilt) and sometimes it escalates the situation and we have an upset child to deal with on top of the tidying up remaining undone.
The 'after chat' is extremely valuable in a situation like this. When everyone has cooled down, regardless of whether the tidying was done or not, it's time to sit down and explain what happened. In this chat you can consider everything:
- how grown ups don't always get it right.
- how you are sorry and what you are sorry for. (e.g. snapping)
- how sometimes grownups need things done quickly (e.g.because they need to go somewhere) and at these times your child refusing to do it or taking their time can create stress which can make you snap.
- why you needed them to do what you asked them to do.
- show understanding of why they might not want to do it but that we all have to do things we don't want to do (give some adult examples).
- explore why they were struggling to just get on and tidy up!
- how we could do things differently next time.
Chats like these are also good for any snap punishment decisions you might make that you later consider harsh and think you should backtrack on!