Parenting is tough for someone trying to live mindfully and make clear choices. Occasionally your goals conflict with what appears necessary for the moment.

My son and his friend were bouncing off the walls in his room, the consequence of this fun being the shattering of a ceramic bank on the floor. Being attached to this bank, it set off a small pity party in my son’s head and anger that came lashing out. This is never a good scene, as it usually kicks off a round of nasty bickering between the two friends.

Knowing how this particular path unwinds, and already frustrated with them, I head upstairs to nip this in the bud and get them back to cleaning up the mess of coins and ceramic shards. At first I tried reasoning, only to be out-shouted by an emotional pre-teen. Not with pride, I report to you that I lost it a bit; allowing myself to scream at the top of my lungs and let loose a few choice words that they wouldn’t be allowed to say.

Let me interject here that it took me a long time to realize I was a screamer (I’m not sure where it comes from, as I can’t remember either of  my parents screaming at me). It took me even longer to learn to see it coming, and be able to stop it in time so I could approach these kind of parenting issues with calmness instead of hair-raising shrieking.

However, it seems that sometimes there are situations where screaming at them somehow resets their pre-teen brains a bit, cutting through the emotional monkey in their heads so they can hear the message I’m trying to impart. They both shut up and stared at me, eyes wide. An interesting revelation: Sometimes calm speech isn’t the best tool; sometimes I have to knock their heads together. They both got back to cleaning up the mess, and apologized to each other.

A dilemma, indeed! Even though yelling worked this time, I think I’ll stick with the calm me, rather than the freak-out me. <sigh> Back to the path….

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