by Madison Longchamp, MS, APC
All relationships have ruptures. Inevitable, feelings will be hurt, there will be disagreements, and every now and then we may not handle something as well as we would like. Whether our child is misbehaving, we are having a rough day, or everyone is just at their wit’s end, ruptures will occur. When this happens, we make a withdrawal from our parent-child emotional bank account with our child. But what happens if we don’t have any money saved up? What if that withdrawal leaves a negative balance?
When we have Positive and Fun Experiences with our Child, It’s like Stacking up Money in the Bank
When you have money saved up, making a withdrawal isn’t such a big deal. Children are much more likely to go along with us when they view us as fun and nurturing. When we have repeated negative interactions with our children, it feeds future negative interactions and can feel like we are stuck in an endless loop.
We might even feel like we don’t know how to enjoy our child anymore because everything feels like a struggle. However, when we have positive experiences with our children built up, it is much easier to bounce back after a rupture and reconnect.
If you’ve felt like you’ve been in the negative lately, spend some time with your child that is low pressure and unstructured. Minimize the possibility of you or your child feeling stressed. That means if you don’t like mess, baking cupcakes or doing an art project on your freshly cleaned kitchen table might not be a good idea.
Make sure you are ready to be flexible, silly, and simply enjoy your kiddo!
Then continue stacking positive interactions by building in play with your child throughout the day.
One of my favorite memories from childhood is my mother teaching me how to throw up my bed sheets and run under them like I was in a colorful dome. Making my bed every day could have been a very arduous task, but my mother saw it as an opportunity to put some money into our bank account.