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November 15, 2022

How to Repair After Rupture in Parenting

As parents, we can experience some trying times. Between worries about our kids, managing impulsive behavior, our own daily challenges and so on… things can get pretty intense. Perhaps you’ve had to deal with your kid being rude, lying, or them staying up late to play video games one too many times… And then, we lose our cool. We might yell. Shout. Punish. Demand. Or threaten. None of these of course meet the needs beneath the behavior our child exhibits. And as parents we might feel guilt, and shame and even shed remorseful tears about our behavior towards our child. These kinds of issues put stress on any parent-child relationship and can lead to some serious ruptures in parenting. When left unresolved, these can increase disconnection and exacerbate challenges. But how can you repair after rupture in parenting? It’s not easy, but it is VERY possible. Parenting is a difficult job at the best of times, let alone when there are problems along the way. Thankfully, these trust breaks don’t have to be permanent – if we respond in ways that create connection-building repair.

  1. Take a Step Back


Before you do anything, try taking a step back from the situation and putting things into perspective. This requires the practice of emotional self-regulation. And then, try to put your “Kid-goggles on,” and imagine what your child might be experiencing in the moment. Practice self-empathy. Self-regulation as an individual is a key piece to being able to parent in a way that builds empowered and resilient kids. With our “Kid Goggles” on, it can give us an idea of whether you need to repair after rupture in parenting or not. More often than not, the answer will be yes. Here’s a basic rule of thumb: if you feel icky after a negative response towards your child, you will benefit from a repair process with your kids. The repair process will help to restore your child’s sense of connection with you and enhance mutual respect in your relationship with each other.

#Win right?

Now what is this magical “Repair Process” I speak of? Well, I’ll share this with you in my upcoming 2-part LIVE online workshop for parents which you can check out here:

  1. Be Open and Honest

I remember how often I lost it on my kids in my early parenting days, and how awful I felt after. I honestly didn’t know how to approach them again except with tearful apologies. Of course, now I know that these tearful apologies didn’t give them the confidence and structure they needed to become resilient, and it may have resulted in them feeling responsible for my feelings instead. Oh gosh was that a hard pill to swallow.

Being open and honest about things is important if things go wrong. This requires vulnerability. And many parents find this hard. They have somewhere along the way, developed a subconscious belief that because their kids look up to them, they cannot show their flaws, weaknesses or areas that they might need help. Unfortunately, this causes them to bite down harder in the authoritarian parenting style because of the cocktail of emotions that comes up when we “mess up.” Messing up might look like yelling, threatening, losing our patience, or even quietly internally imploding, etc.

Even when it’s awkward or embarrassing, being honest about our feelings and what was going on in the moment is the best way to go about repairing after a rupture in parenting. You don’t want to leave your child in the dark about what caused you to get upset and why, so let them know. We want to be able to stand in our self-responsibility when we do this though; self-responsibility does not involve blaming our kids – no matter how much we might want to default to this. There is a way to highlight to our kids the role they played in the challenge you all faced together. But how we say this is crucial. Kids are strongly influenced by what we say to them…

If you’re looking for support in What to Say and How to Say it, you can benefit from the Repair After Rupture in Parenting Workshop.

Honestly, I love this stuff because I didn’t have the language skills in my early parenting days to reach out to my loved ones in an empowered way after a rupture. So heck yeah, I love scripts because they give me the words my brain doesn’t seem to think of. You might like this too! What I needed was a strong framework, and when I found it – it was such a huge relief. I didn’t have to think so hard anymore about what to do. I felt more confident in knowing I had step by step guidance.

  1. Set Some Boundaries


My husband and I had a rupture one time. The next day I asked if he’d be willing to initiate repair (context: we’d been working on flexing his initiation muscle because having uncomfortable talks with intention wasn’t his default…). He sent me a text message saying “I have moved on. I am choosing happiness instead. How about you?”

#Bypassing. I felt completely bypassed. My feelings, needs and my lived experience wasn’t making it onto his radar it seemed. Sure, it’s great that he moved on, but I was in need of support to smooth the rough edges this rupture created in our relationship. It was out of alignment for me to negate the rupture and not have resolve and reconnection from it. Bypassing someone else’s experiences in a rupture creates disconnection.

It’s important when dealing with a rupture in parenting to set some boundaries in place. Family Boundaries are built on Family Values. If you haven’t explored your family values and boundaries, you may benefit from my Values and Boundaries workshop. When we know our values, we know why we are spending time creating repair in our family unit.

For example, if we value kindness, leadership, respect, and family teamwork, then “fixing” the rupture is an important action to do in order to live in alignment with these values. Sweeping the mistakes and missteps under the rug or pretending to “just get over them,” isn’t living in alignment with these values. Take the corporate world for example: when something goes wrong, we address it! We don’t pretend like it didn’t happen or that we had no role or responsibility in the matter.

And here’s something significant I’ve discovered in my 21 years of personal development work: when you live out of alignment with your values, you feel icky. And whatever icky stuff you don’t deal with, somehow will find it’s way back to you because the Universe wants you to deal with it and grow from it.

Knowing your family values and boundaries helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to how you operate as a cohesive and empowered family unit.

Thus, when there is a rupture, how do we repair? What are the values and boundaries around this? What have we clearly defined? Do we come back around to uncomfortable discussions at some given point? If so, what does that look like?

Boundaries and values can be adjusted as you see fit, but it’s best to start with a few basic things that apply to the entire family. When the values and boundaries are in place, you know what to do and how to respond when either you or your kids crosses a boundary. It also helps us as parents from getting extremely dysregulated with challenges when the arise because we have solid values and boundaries in place.

  1. Plan It Out – with a framework


Part of having a repair process in place is about having a plan of what to do when things go awry. The Repair Success framework I provide my clients and workshop participants gives you a solid foundation and plan of what to do – in advance. Because the real-deal is that we’re gonna mess up as parents, and our kids are going to mess up too. That’s the bitter-sweet beauty of this whole parent-child relationship thing.

With a plan in place, when there is a rupture, we consult the framework and know exactly what to do next. Having a plan like this in place will help to repair after rupture in parenting and set our family back on track.



Parenting is a difficult job at the best of times, let alone when there are problems along the way. Thankfully, these trust breaks don’t have to be permanent – if you respond accordingly when you know things are “off” and take action from there. Be open and honest with your kids and set some values and boundaries in place, and then have a plan on what to do when boundaries are crossed – in particular when you as the parent cross boundaries. Because after all, we are our kids first and most influential role model.

How we respond impacts how they will respond in similar situations. Relying on in-the-moment tactics and living in shame or guilt over our reactions doesn’t serve us or our family. Yes, feel the feelings, AND avoid getting stuck there. Grab my framework that works and set yourself free as a parent in the Repair After Rupture Workshop.

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Ashley Anjlien Kumar  |  Contribution: 1,140