RULE OF PARENTING #21: Forgive and Forget: 5 Tips on Forgiving a Child Who Hurts You

Forgive Your Kids Quickly (Don’t Hold Grudges)

Rules Of Parenting - # - Mother Daughter Yelling At TableParents are not expected to be angry or hurt. But the truth is that parents are humans and they are subject to human emotions such as anger and hurt, sometimes caused by their children’s actions. It is easy for the parent-child relationship to spiral out of control. Fortunately, there are some ways that caring parents can learn how to forgive their children and repair the broken relationship:

1. Make a Connection of Empathy

If a child hurts you by his actions, it is important to tell him so. You can effectively communicate your hurt with both the preschooler and the teenager too. Take the case of 4-year-old Jake who throws a tantrum in the grocery store. Suddenly he picks up a can of soda and strikes his mother on the face with it. This is not the first time Jake has done such an outrageous thing. Certainly, Jake’s mom will feel rage and hurt but at the end of the day, she must continue to be the caring parent. A good place to start in the forgiveness process is to tell Jake that he hurt mom with his action and he should say sorry. Without making the child feel guilty, help him to understand his wrongdoing and to empathize with you.

2. Respect Your Child’s Choices

Your grown child may make certain choices that do not resonate with your expectations. Drugs, crime, joblessness, recklessness and a don’t-care attitude can be very hurtful to most parents. You can try to help your child out of these situations but sometimes your child may resist all efforts to help or rescue him. If you have tried your very best and your child has chosen his own path, the best you can do is to allow him to pursue this path. This can be a great source of grief for many families, but when you can come to the realization that older children need a sense of individuality from their parents, you can forgive their actions and let them face their own consequences.

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3. Be The Parent

When your child hurts you, whether a toddler, a school goer or a teen, do you sulk at them, make them feel guilty, stop talking to them? It is easy to wallow in the feelings of resentment, anger and hurt but you must realize that you are the bigger person, you are the parent and you must act as such. You cannot ration love and care just because a child has hurt you. If you feel angered, take some time out, engage in an activity that will distract you and then come back to the situation. Speak to your child about his action and how it has affected you. Whether or not he shows empathy, you need to see him as a child who does require empathy. All along, do not stop teaching your child how to develop a sense of empathy and consideration for other people’s feelings.

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4. Keep the Communication Lines Open

In times of hurt, do not lock your child out. In your deliberate effort to forgive her, let her know that she can talk to you and that you are ready to listen. It is easy to stop talking to and with your child when you feel hurt. But keeping the lines of communication open can in fact help your child develop a sense of empathy and an understanding of her actions. It also makes her feel loved. Communication does not mean constant apologizing; it means talking about things that are affecting both you and your child and anything else that comes up.

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5. Get Things To Normal

As you forgive your child and try to heal your relationship, make an effort to get things back to normal. If you ate lunch as a family three days a week, continue to do this. If you used to pack lunch for your 13 year old before the hurtful incident, get back to doing this for him. Trying to get things back to normal is not denial. After all, at this point, you have dealt with the issues at hand, you have forgiven and you are now healing your relationship. Getting things back to normal is one of the best ways of not dwelling on the past.

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