A few weeks ago one of my children did something that she was not supposed to do. She was reprimanded. She was grounded. I was angry and disappointed with her. The next day the anger was still there. And the day after. Soon a few days turned into a week. I had shut myself off from her. I wasn’t as affectionate. When we were in the same room, we weren’t talking.
Picking our battles zones on the couch, her on one end and I across the room. There was tension. Our two-week war softened here and there by her sneaking up behind me in different parts of the house, wrapping her arms around me quickly in a hug. Hugs that were so fleeting. She was trying to repair the rift between us.
My husband on the other hand was his jovial self. He was as angry as I was, and as disappointed but he was still able to keep up the same relationship with her as he usually does. I watched this and wondered how? How do you parent your children through anger? I’ve been frustrated with my kids before, it happens. I have four children. I’ve felt a range of emotions.
This was the first time I felt a crack in the foundation in the relationship I have with one of my children. I was honestly thrown by it. My daughter knew I was still upset but I told her ” No matter how upset I am at you, I always love you. ” It was a huge ” aha” moment for me the minute that came out of my mouth. I had never been told that when I was her age.
My mother that told me she loved me, but not when she was angry with me. It was crucial then for me to really make my daughter understand that I still truly loved her through my anger at her actions. I needed to make her realize that her actions are not who she is at heart. They are what she does, and she will learn lessons by the consequences of her actions throughout her entire life. Just like I am still learning my own lessons every day.
I saw clearly had I continued on the path of not really talking to her, how I would alienate her, and much worse begin to crack the solid foundation of her own self-worth. I watched my daughter who only turned thirteen a little while ago, struggle with herself, and our distance from each other. I stopped right then and there. I shut down that part of me that learned to associate anger by distancing myself.
I tuned into the soft part of me, pulling from the very depths of myself the love and understanding she needed. Not the mother I had experienced when I was a child. It’s always possible to end cycles. New ways to deal with situations can be learned. I reminded myself of the life I wanted for my children. I don’t want my childhood repeated for my kids. They deserve better. The next time I felt her walk behind me, I turned around and pulled her into my arms.
I kissed the top of her head and held her tight. She relaxed and hugged me back. It would be alright. We would pull through this. I knew in my heart and from my own experiences it was the first time, but not the last that she would make mistakes. I knew it would be the first time & not the last for myself either that I would make my own mistakes dealing with hers. This is parenting. It’s not always easy. Sometimes you react from the way your own experiences taught you.
If those experiences have not always been positive, the fantastic news is we can change. Even my mother changed at the end of her life. I don’t want to wait that long. I don’t want my child to wait that long.
It’s life in progress. In motion. It’s in the moments of difficulty that we get rare glimpses of how beautiful and precious life is. It’s in those moments that we see how we can change for the better. How that is a priceless gift to ourselves and to those around us. Turning the negative to the positive. We are all capable of it.
Stay Positive and Pampered,