Dr. Courtney Knapp

Child & Adolescent Psychologist Serving Orange County, California

Repairing the Relationship with Your Child After a Mistake


We hear it all the time… “we all make mistakes, nobody is perfect”. We hear it all the time because it is so true! I was first introduced to the concept of repairing the relationship with your child when I was in graduate school. I watched a video of Gary Landreth’s in which he briefly talks about if one yells at his/her child, which will happen at some point, that it is okay to apologize afterward and admit to making a mistake. Not only does this help repair the relationship but it also models taking responsibility for one’s behavior.

This great article discusses one mother’s personal experience with repairing and it is a beautiful example. This mother was able to apologize and be honest about her own feelings of frustration as well as take responsibility for her behavior. When we are upset it is easy to use blaming language, for example: “I’m sorry I yelled, but you made me feel frustrated”. This is not taking responsibility as it brings blame back to the child. In this mother’s example she in summary stated “I’m sorry I was frustrated and I should have been more gentle” and takes full responsibility for her feelings and actions. So yes, mistakes will be made…we will yell and overreact at times…the mistake itself is not what matters in the end, but rather being able to repair the relationship after the mistake.

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