There are some days that I am just not on top of my game for whatever reason; I’m tired, crabby, hungry, overwhelmed, worried about a family matter, and the list goes on. As a result of this, the relationships I have with students and my team on campus may be effected. Let’s say my first interaction with a student or parent happens to fall on one of my “off days”, what impression does this leave? How effective can I possibly be with this person going forward if our relationships starts off on the wrong foot?
Not every day will be rosy and magical. So when an established relationship begins to sour, or seems to have been pulled apart, how do you come back from that? Today’s post will focus on 5 steps to take in order to build some strength back into a starved connection between you and your child, partner, friend....and the list goes on.
Preserve and Prevent. We all want to feel valued and cared for by others in our lives; child or adult, – this is true for ALL. When we feel cared for by another person, we are more likely to be open to comply with that person’s requests. i.e I want to please you, because I want you to be proud of me because I believe that you care about my successes OR I want to help you out when I see you’re having a rough day, because I want you to feel loved because I know you have done the same for me and want you to feel better. So work every day, even on the “off days” to build strong relationships with those around you.
Take Ownership. This step is so important because it acknowledges that a misstep happened, that a mistake was made. It brings it out to the forefront. No one is perfect, that is part of being human. You’ve made a mistake and you’re putting it out in the open. I suggest that if the relationship repair you’re working on involves your kiddo, who also made some missteps that contributing to the current rockiness of your relationship – take your ownership first, then request the same of your little one. This works with adults too, taking ownership of a mistake first typically puts people at ease, making them less defensive. Own it, and request the same in return.
Most kiddos will need a little help getting through this part, but you’re a great guide, but if you're reading this for tips and help, you're already thinking in the right direction. Remind them of the rules of the house, or your expectations of them and tie this into the behavior that caused the problem. And inquire “How can you work on this to improve for tomorrow?”
Really Apologize. Using the words “I am sorry” or “I apologize”. Have you ever walked away from an “apology” from someone else and thought to yourself they never said they were sorry. Don’t be afraid to apologize and mean it. It strengthens the bond we have with our kids when we can be honest, and model appropriate behavior – even when we mess up. This can be hard to do, I know it is for me, but again, it’s so important for the other person to hear the words. This is important for children to see other adults doing; model, model model.
Make a request. Put your needs out there, make a request for the future. Other people can’t read your mind, so if there is something you need to help make the relationship stronger – ask. The worst that could happen is that they say no. With kids "It would be helpful if....", or "I expect.... while we are in the store".
Prioritize your desired outcome. Keep in mind what is most important to you, and what your desired outcome of this interaction is. This step is more so useful for relationship repair with your partner or another adult. In order to achieve your desired outcome, you may need to bite your tongue, or accept responsibility for something that, in the way you see it, fell to someone else. Is it more important for you to be right, or for you to preserve the relationship?