Special Needs Families: What You Really Say Whenever You Tell Your Child that You Are Sorry!

Angela Kelly by Angela Kelly Additional Needs

Angela Kelly

Angela Kelly

I am an occasional personal blogger and write under Wristbands and Roadsigns. I also write for Special Needs Jungle. I have a private practice Emot...

Difficult because the children are home 24/7.

Because they need you to meet their needs.

Because you don’t get that much needed time to do all the things you would usually do when they are at School.

Because you are juggling meeting the needs of your disabled child(ren) with your non-disabled child(ren)

That’s some of the reasons why the holidays are hard.

So it’s only natural that you overreact to situations that normally wouldn't phase you.

You’re tired, out of routine, constantly on call and, you’re human!

You find yourself snapping, you lose your temper, cry or walk away to another room or you might say something you don’t mean either directly or indirectly to your child!

And your little ones are either your target audience or they over hear a conversation and from that, they construe a whole different meaning about what they have just heard.

They do this because our children’s world is infinitely smaller than an adults world, it has less power and less access to information to decode what they have heard.

So often your child will assume that the reason you are cross is because of something they have done or can do something about.

Most of the time it isn’t!

Yes, there will be moments when you might be genuinely cross at them for something that has happened but usually, our anger is about how we feel about situations.

An example of this might be that your child has spilt milk on the carpet and  whilst you might feel annoyed, it is more likely that your annoyance is related to having an extra job to do!

Not to mention, the potential for the milk staining the carpet and creating a horrible smell in a few days time whenever you realised that you've missed a bit in your cleaning up process.

Emotions are like a recently boiled Kettle!

This is where Sorry becomes essential and I don’t mean a quick, ‘Sorry about that!’

I mean a, ‘let’s-have-a-debrief-when-it-is-safe-to-do-so’, (for everyone, especially if tensions are running high.)

You know when you have boiled a kettle and you go to reboil it a short while later, it boils much more quickly, doesn’t it?

Emotions are very much like that – they need time to fully cool.

This could take 15, 30, 60, or 90 minutes or it might mean that you revisit the next day.

Whatever is needed by everyone is the most effective way to have a successful outcome – if you are ready to apologise but they are not ready to receive it, or vice versa, you will risk reboiling the kettle and provoking another difficult situation.

Five Steps to an Effective Reconciliation:

  • Cool down – Allow everyone to cool down and become calm
  • Communicate – Let everyone know that you will deal with this situation when the time is right but do so at the first opportunity
  • Co-operate - Ask if you can have everyone’s cooperation to reconcile the situation – Don’t assume or force people to take part – that’s dictating and is likely to be unsuccessful
  • Be genuine – Don’t pretend all is OK if it isn’t, children are highly perceptive of other people’s feelings even if they are yet to fully understand them. Tell them you felt upset, sad, frustrated about what may have happened and reduce language where you need to – you know your children the best.
  • Move on – Once the apologies are done (and everyone is happy with the outcome), move on – don’t keep going back to what happened as that will recreate the situation – If your children do, gently remind them that you were sorry but that you are human and we all make mistakes. Tell them you love them and draw a line under the incident.

By using these techniques you will be equipping your children to deal with conflict in many situations - not just at home.

Remember; it will almost certainly take practice so keep on trying.


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