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Ruptures and Repair

Where there are ruptures, there is an opportunity for a repair, personal and interpersonal growth. That is not to say that it is easy to communicate with loved ones when feelings have been hurt and tensions are high, it might also be completely humbling to admit to fault. But, by taking small steps towards repairing a rupture in a relationship, this may provide an opportunity to deepen the relationship and to demonstrate to children how to make-a-mends with loved ones when someone’s feelings have been hurt.

If we were to understand what both rupture and repair are from an attachment-based perspective. A rupture can be understood as a breakdown in the connection within the relationship. This can be as small as failing to respond warmly to a greeting to something much larger such as heightened aggression during an argument or an affair. While a repair looks to remedy the rupture through understanding the others perspective, understanding and changing our typical patterns when confronted with conflict, acknowledging hurt feelings, owning one-another’s role in the hurt, seeing the impact on one-another, and exploring a way forward together.

But what about in a parenting relationship?

Forming a close and loving relationship between family members is a complex and ever-changing landscape. Young people are determined to craft their own personalities, while parents are continuously looking for various boundaries to set and which ones to let go. In between the chaos of everyday life and emerging personalities, it is the aspects of the parent and child relationship that often lead to disagreements as where a rupture is occurring, and then the repair is looking to understand an acceptable middle-ground for each family member.

To borrow a term coined by Dan Sigel, sometimes we need a NowMap, to help us understand our feelings and to find a way back towards regulated, healthy, harmonious relationships. What would that relational map even begin to look like?

  1. Re-establishing trust

  2. Meaningful apologies

  3. Learning to let go

  4. Looking for a way to grow together

There is always something to learn when a rupture takes place and for parents taking a breath to achieve a moment of self-awareness, then being able to demonstrate regulation skills, how to take responsibility when at fault and patience, these are invaluable social skills for children to experience – but also to deepen the relationship between family members. To experience a true repair, understanding about what lead to the breakdown to begin with and then working together to grow the relationship in a positive direction.

Ahh parenting – a challenging trifecta of time, patience and love.

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