In light of my post the other day – Do I sound like that? Really? – I have to say I did good this morning. One of my daughters has been pushing my buttons as of late. I know, she knows she is doing it too, which of course pushes my buttons…. sigh. What the reasoning behind it is, I have no idea. Why she would want to push me at every turn is beyond me. You know the old adage “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” well she is testing out the vinegar. (why do we want to catch flies? I certainly know that I don’t – flies are gross and annoying…) What was my point here? OK let’s get back on track. She wants to have her cake and eat it too. (OK there’s another one… hhmmmm maybe I will have to do a post pondering some of these old expressions??? another day another time.) Anyways, so my kid wants all the privileges without any of the responsibility… sound familiar? She is lacking respect for me and my boundaries but gets all in my face when I say “heck no!” and normally I do that loudly and aggressively. Not this morning…
This morning I stopped myself, took some deep breathes, realized I did not want to start my day like that. I did not want to have a little black cloud floating above my head all day. I did not want to act like a big gorilla, all action and reaction, no thought and rationale. I want to give my kids unconditional love even in the face of lots of button pushing. It felt really good to keep it together and even though I need to have a talk with her today after work, I am feeling optimistic because I have decided I am not going to yell. I am going act with love, even if it kills me! (or her for that matter… which it just might!)
So recently I have come to realize some fairly obvious truths; truths that have somehow eluded me in the past. For instance respect is a two way street, you get what you put in. (I have always known this in respect to relationships, but somehow it’s easy not to apply it when dealing with kids/teenagers and to just expect them to respect you “because you said so!”) I have also found that anger and yelling only seem to breed more anger and yelling. And that when you hit the wall of frustration neither party is listening any more, but are rather trying to find relevant ammo. (sometimes irrelevant ammo, because when one is truly angry any ammo will do).
See I want my kids to be sure in knowing that they can come to me no matter what they are facing, and that I will treat the situation with as much love, and kindness as I can. Which means if I am flying off the handle every time they do something I don’t like, I am not fostering that ideal. My button pushing daughter is 15 years old, and even though I do not want her partying, drinking, experimenting with drugs or having sex (of course I don’t want that) I do want her to know that if she has done any of these things and screwed up big time and has found herself in trouble, she can come to me and I will not rip into her for making poor choices or for making mistakes. Which means if I am always losing it over the small stuff, there is no way she is going to come to me with the big stuff.
And that boils down to me having to change my patterns. Because it would break my heart if I found out that she was too afraid to come to me in a crisis. To me that would mean I had failed as her parent. My job is to guide her in the right direction and to be there to love and support her when she chooses to take a different route. To applaud her when those choices work out, and to hug her and just be there when they don’t.