How To Mend A Relationship: The crucial steps of an apology.
This episode of the Impactful Parent walks you through the crucial steps of making an apology that is effective and better received by your loved one. It’s not easy to say, “I am sorry,” but apologizing might be the first step to mending a relationship that is important to you. Discover how you can apologize to your loved one WITHOUT taking the whole blame and WITHOUT admitting that you did anything with bad intentions. PLUS- THIS VIDEO WILL HELP YOU TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO APOLOGIZE SO THEY CAN MEND RELATIONSHIPS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO THEM!
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How To Mend A Relationship
It’s been a long day. I’m exhausted. All I want is to rest on the couch for five minutes before I deal with the kids. Instead, I walk into the house and am greeted with a crying child, another kid screaming, “Mom, she took my charger!” and a spouse who says, “Great! You’re home. We need to get going to Joseph’s game.”
I lost it. I completely lost my shit. All self-control went out the window, and before I knew it, I was yelling at everyone, even the baby.
We all make mistakes, but saying sorry is actually a skill. We all have received an apology that we didn’t accept because we knew the wrong-doer didn’t mean it. Most of us have even given an apology we didn’t mean. But what if we want to mend a hurt relationship and feelings? How do we do that?
Hello, my name is Kristina Campos. I am the founder of the Impactful Parent. Every week I give you parenting videos that can help you in your parenting journey. If you have a particular topic or parenting question about your school-aged child that you would like me to address, please submit it at [email protected] or by messaging me on social media. All submissions are kept anonymous.
Today, I will teach you how to apologize. Not all apologies are created equal. If you are ready to mend a relationship or want to teach your child how to apologize, this episode is for you. I will explain the 8 crucial steps to a good apology and stick around to the end because this episode can improve your relationship with your children. Let’s get started!
How to apologize (before you say I’m sorry): Focus On The Impact Of Your Actions. Not The Intent.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, you didn’t mean to hurt anyone. You never intended to purposefully make someone feel sad, mad, or frustrated. That is why you will not focus on the intent of your actions. You didn’t mean it! Instead, focus on the impact of your actions. If you yelled at your kids, you must consider how that made them feel. If you worked late and left your spouse at home with the kids alone too long, how did that affect your partner? It doesn’t matter that you worked late so you can pay the bills. I am sure you had a good reason for whatever happened. Still, you need to stop justifying your actions and consider how your actions affect others.
How to apologize (before you say I’m sorry): Own Up To Your Part. Not Theirs.
Once you can admit that your actions hurt someone else, then you can own your part. This step gets a little messy when someone has hurt you, too, and the disconnect or argument happens with two or more people going back and forth. However, your focus is on what YOU did and what YOU said. Not them. You are likely hurt too. You probably reacted to them and have a lot of hurt feelings yourself, but the bottom line is: if you want to mend a relationship, someone has to step up and make the first move. I hope that your maturity to take the first step of owning your part in the situation prompts the other person to do the same, but we can’t control them. You can only do your part.
How to apologize Step 1: Admit To The Offense.
Now we are getting into the actual words you need to use to speak your apology. Before we continue, let’s clarify that just because you are admitting to hurting your loved one doesn’t mean you did it purposefully. However, for your loved one to heal, they need you to say “what you could have done better” aloud. They need you to speak about how you wronged them. Say something like, “I am sorry that I _________.”
- I am sorry that I yelled at you.
- I am sorry that I ignored you.
- I am sorry that I didn’t take your opinion into consideration.
How to apologize Step 2: Spell Out Why You Want To Apologize
Tell your loved one why it is important to you to mend the relationship. Say something like, “I want to apologize for what I did because _________.”
- I want to apologize for what I did because I see that I really hurt you, which doesn’t feel good to me, either.
- I want to apologize for what I did because I love you and never intended to hurt you.
- I want to apologize for what I did because I feel terrible, and your friendship means a lot to me.
How to apologize Step 3: Admit That You Could Have Handled It Differently
This is where you need to be the bigger person and admit you could have done better. You admitted to having made a mistake in handling the situation. It doesn’t matter why you made a mistake. I am sure you were perfectly justified in how you reacted; however, this goes back to YOU needing to step up and take the first steps on the high road because someone needs to do it. You care about the relationship enough to do that. Say something like, “I wish I would have ____ instead, but I didn’t, and I know I hurt you. It is important to add “and I know I hurt you” because your loved one needs to feel like you understand the consequences of your actions.
- I wish I had kept my cool and didn’t yell; instead, I hurt you. I’m sorry.
- I wish I had paused momentarily and listened to you, but instead, I hurt you. I’m sorry.
- I wish I had walked away when we started arguing, but instead, I said hurtful things I didn’t mean. That hurt you. I’m sorry.
How to apologize Step 4: Acknowledge the Other Person’s Hurt and Let Them Talk About Their Feelings.
Step 4 is crucial. Your loved one needs to vent. This is important because they must make you understand how badly you hurt them. Unfortunately, this becomes the hardest step of all, because you will need to sit there and listen, take in the information, and nod your head. You can’t get defensive. In fact, you need to validate their feelings. Your loved one won’t accept your apology completely unless they feel you understand their pain. Period. Your natural reaction will be to defend yourself and justify your actions, but you can’t. This is their time to talk, and for this apology to work, you will need to listen and take note of the words they use to describe their pain. This is especially important with men who express their hurt feelings by saying things like, “You disrespected me, or you didn’t listen to me.”
Then, acknowledge your loved one’s pain using the same words they used to describe it. For example:
- I understand that I disrespected you. I didn’t mean to. I am sorry.
- I know that I ignored you, and you didn’t feel heard. I am sorry.
- I understand that hurt your feelings. I am sorry.
How to apologize Step 5: Express Regret.
Expressing regret is best done in your tone of voice. How you say, I am sorry, and all the things noted in steps 1-4 need to be told in a tone of voice that expresses sadness. If you don’t express regret for your actions using the right tone, then everything you said before won’t do any good. Your loved one needs to feel like you regret your actions; this is where your heartfelt apology is revealed.
When apologies WON’T be accepted no matter what you do.
Unfortunately, there are times when an apology won’t be accepted. This isn’t about you at all, and it is all about the person receiving the apology. There are 2 notable times to be aware of when your apology will often fall upon deaf ears.
- They have to be willing to forgive you because they value the relationship. If they do not value the relationship, many people will reject the apology and use it as an excuse to move on.
- A person may not accept an apology if their identity is created by the hurt they have inside.
Learning to apologize so you can mend relationships with your loved ones is important for your family. Once you can learn how to apologize effectively, then you can role model these behaviors and teach them to your children.
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But until next time, you got this, parents. I am just here to help.
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