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 in the world of parenting a kid(s), this is even more true for parents of teens. 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 kiddo…or perhaps someone else in your life that you love.
Preserve and Prevent. We all want to feel valued and cared for by others in our lives; child, parent, 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 do well in your class, 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 your campus family.
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 would suggest that if the relationship repair you’re working on also involves missteps by the other person involved, as it often does - take your ownership first, then request the same of the other person.
Most kids will need a little help getting through this part, but you’re a great guide. Remind them of the rules and expectations that you have for them , or what is expected of them during the school day and tie this into the behavior that caused the problem. And inquire “How can you work on this to improve for tomorrow?”
This step, of course, is important for adult to adult relationships too. You’d be surprised at how beginning an apology with taking your piece of responsibility will smooth things right over. It can be a very vulnerable position for you, but empowering in the long run.
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 to someone else. It strengthens the bond we have with others 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.
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.
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 co-workers and administration, rather than students. 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?