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Recovering from a parental meltdown: Mom Minute Monday

When parents lose their cool, it can be hard to recover. An expert weighs in on what to do and how to make the situation a teachable moment for you and your kids.

CLEVELAND — Parenting can be tough work. We know that kids, no matter their age, can have tantrums from time to time. 

Parents can sometimes have meltdowns, too – especially when going through a stressful situation.

In this Mom Minute Monday, 3News’ Danielle Wiggins talked to Dr. David Miller, Medical Director for Pediatric Integrative Medicine with the University Hospitals at Connor Integrative Health Network and Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, about how to recover when you lose your cool.

“We would love to model the best behavior for our children,” Danielle says. “But we don't always do the best things and we make mistakes. How is it that parents can recover from those mistakes?”

Dr. Miller says although it can be tough, it’s important to treat the moment as an opportunity.

“Recovering from an adult meltdown right in front of your child, I would frame that most as an opportunity,” says Dr. Miller. “I think parents sometimes worry about sort of losing face in a way, losing respect to their child because they apologize to them. But I think what we see is really that kids really respect when you're honest with your kid and when you're a human.”

Dr. Miller says it’s important to talk to your child about what happened.

“Create that repair that teaches them how to do that in another situation.”

Having a meltdown in front of your child can leave parents with a lot of guilt. Dr. Miller says it’s important to show yourself forgiveness. Moving beyond the initial apology and learning from it is key.

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“The second piece of the apology is really correcting the action next time. And both yourself and your child seeing that you have grown from that experience. What makes an apology truly sincere is the change that comes from it, where we don't repeat the same mistake over and over again.”

Dr. Miller says it's also important for parents to know when to apologize. There are times when parents do things that are difficult for our kids to understand -- but don't necessarily need an apology. For example, if the child does something that is potentially dangerous for themselves or even someone else.

"I would use that as an opportunity to tell the child, ‘I'm sorry I exploded, but you really scared me. You're the most important thing in my life and if anything happened to you it would be devastating to me, so I just want you to be safe.'"

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