Kids are great aren’t they? They can teach you so much about yourself that perhaps you never knew or wanted to know!
My son had been grounded yesterday and was supposed to come straight home after school but he didn’t. He arrived home late and brought along his old friend Attitude too. Not only was I unhappy that he didn’t come home directly after school and that he came home at a ridiculous hour, I was now not happy about his offensive attitude with me. He marched in ready for a fight and was determined someone was going to get it!
So being the adult I rose to his offense much to my dismay and as any parent knows, if you rise up to your kid’s challenge, you have automatically let them win. Mum loses control, shouts and gets upset. One nil to him.
Granted – most days I rise above it but I’m only human so some days I don’t do very well! Instead of jumping in and giving him what he wanted – an argument – I should have stepped back and walked away. If I had have given myself space to think about the situation I would have perhaps wondered at why he needed to ‘let off steam’. I could have allowed him to calm down and then had a chat with him later to see if anything was upsetting him.
As it happened, something was upsetting him – a rather amazing teacher had told him that he perhaps was the dumbest boy in the entire school. And how did I find this out? Only after I had upset him! So not only did he feel devastated that his teacher had upset him and humiliated him in front of his class mates but his mum was now having a go at him too!
So next time your child seems keen to pick a fight or his behaviour seems more volatile than usual – step back and think about what might be going on inside their head instead of automatically focusing on what is going on inside your head. Okay it’s not nice to be on the receiving end of verbal abuse however if we realize that something has to be driving this behaviour then we begin to see things differently and respond is a more positive way.
Most people when hurt or upset lash out at those nearest – it’s nothing personal yet most of us take it personally. Next time someone you love seems to be more verbal or volatile than usual – perhaps wonder at what it is that has upset them instead of launching right back at them. We all need gentle handling at times especially when we are hurt or upset and that is no different for children.
Respect that kids too get upset that they lash out in frustration at times too after all they are only kids! Give them space to calm down instead of adding fuel to their fire. By focusing on what is driving their upset you change the focus off yourself (I am so annoyed that he is talking to me like this) and place it on them (I will give him space to calm down and see if he wants to talk about it later).
Start thinking about how others think and feel – at why they might be upset or behaving badly. There is more than just one person in this world so start looking at how others work and what motivates their behaviour. By seeing things from a different perspective you can begin to gain an understanding of how other people ‘tick’. Only when you learn to understand what motivates other people can you begin to build better relationships.
Remember the world doesn’t revolve around you – other people get upset and need space too – so appreciate this and walk away don’t push them away. They will come to you when they need too.
Hindsight is a great thing but pretty much defunct too – unless you learn from it and change. So change your perspective and look at situations from other peoples point of view too. There is always a reason people behave the way they do and you know what – most times it has nothing to do with you!