Yes, I Blew It
My son snapped at me today. It had never happened with this child before. It was an automatic reaction: I snapped back.
That was the right thing to do, right? I mean, he should never talk to me like that
He was dressed and waiting for me to take him to his karate class when I walked into the living room. First he barked, "Let's go," as he headed out the door. It wasn't the words, but his tone that raised my eyebrows. In a hurry, I decided to let it pass.
Then, as he tried to open the car door, he found it locked. Se he impatiently pounded on the car door.
That's when I snapped.
"Don't you ever
pound on the car door like that again! And don't talk to me in that tone of voice either!"
You can imagine my tone of voice. It was worse than his. Of course, I won the argument. I'm bigger. Plus who has the driver's license and car to top if off?
We drove the short distance in silence. My conscience nagged me. Well, what was I supposed to do? Ignore that kind of behavior? But then, nothing was improved by snapping back. How is he to learn better behavior if all I do is mimic his?
Minutes later he got out of the car to go to his class without calling his usual cheerful farewell. And now I sit here wondering. Why did I let myself respond with impatience? No, he should not bark at me. No, he should not pound becaue it took me more than 0.32 seconds to unlock his door.
But what made my son, who has never talked to me like that in his ten years of life, behave with such agression and impatience? Never before have I known him to pound, stomp, or snap at me. What is happening in his heart?
What made me snap? The annoyance of having his anger projected towards me. How ungrateful, when I have given my Saturday morning to his activities!
Obviously, I did it wrong. I should NOT have put the key in the ignition and turned it.
Instead, he should have heard me calmly say, "We need to talk abut your behavior before this car starts." He needed the reprimand for crossing a line that we don't cross without me firing the same attitude. If he had been asked, "What is making you so impatient today?" those minutes on the road would have been more productive. Instead of a divide, there would be an understanding.
Thank God for second chances!
When I do something wrong, I contemplate how I should have done it differently. What will I do different next time? I will control my tongue and my first emotional reaction. I will remind him what behavior is not acceptable. Instead of snapping back, we both will learn self-control.
Do you have suggestions how you have handled your child's temper?