I remember one moment, when my daughter was 14. She was supposed to be at home doing homework but when I got home (earlier than expected) she had several friends in the house and no homework in sight. I was very angry. I shouted at her friends to leave (which was really embarrassing for them all) and then began a tirade about lies and trust and disappointment. My daughter ran up the stairs to her room and I followed, still shouting. I continued to shout at her while she lay on her bed, back to me, all closed off. I realized that I was getting no where and told her we both needed time to cool off. I went downstairs and made some tea. As I became calmer, I realized how poorly I had behaved. I hadn’t even tried to find out what happened, I had just started shouting. I went back upstairs, knocked on her door and asked if we could talk. She was still on her bed, back to me and replied, in an angry voice, “only if you have changed your attitude!”. I could have got mad all over again, but I saw that she was right….my attitude was the problem, not her. I stepped into the room and quietly said, “As a matter of fact, I have changed my attitude. Can we talk?” She turned toward me and burst into tears. We did talk and we worked it out. The issue was a fairly minor one but my learning was huge….that how I approach the problem makes all the difference!
Diane, thanks for the reminder. You know at the end of the day when I get home I am exhausted and just want to settle in and be with my family. I sometimes step on a few toys before making it to the couch. It’s really easy to get angry or to start shouting I find, but it is also easier to just stop and take a deep breath.
It takes a lot to realize that you were getting nowhere by shouting and took the time to cool off yourself. Maybe a break is what you both needed so you had time to change the “attitude.”
Thanks for sharing Diane! I can relate to it too.
Just before the winter holidays, a friend of my boys (9 & 10 yrs) came over for a playdate and I was shocked to see how easily he convinced them to break some of the rules we follow in our home. They played beyond the screen time allowed to them and when finally I made them turn off their devices, they wanted to run about in the home. I gave them a “look” which worked a bit for my boys but not for the friend. He kept asking them to play tag. I lost it finally and sent the friend to his home.I kept fuming for the next hour but somehow I chose to have that talk with my boys before the end of that hour. I was told that I did not need to be so angry to convey my point!
“Good enough! May be we should talk later.” My boys made me realize that I needed to cool off completely before that talk.I thanked them and told them to remind me again if I ever did that in future. We talked about it later in a relaxed atmosphere which definitely worked.
Some nights our boys have a bit of trouble settling into bed. They need another drink, the lights are on, they need the bathroom again, etc. Our 5 year old likes to come up with all kinds of excuses to come out of his room and after a few times of sending him back I get frustrated. The other night he came out because he needed a hug. As I went up the stairs (again) and he said to me: ‘hugs mean I love you’. And gave me about a dozen squeezes. Next time I’ll listen to him a little better before sending him back to bed right away.
Our kids attitude is a mirror of what we are doing! sometimes when I hear one of my kids screaming at each other at the moment I realize that myself was the one who shouted earlier and they are just using same tone when get into stress situation.
That taught me to keep my voice always down as possible! to built that routine in our house 🙂 sometimes I lose my temper though!But at least we keep trying our best till we get to our goals.
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