Teaching By Example-Why Words Are Not Enough

The other night Michael and I had a fight. The hour change is doing a number on our family and as expected, both our tempers were unchecked. I blame myself more as I fed into his anger and yelled even louder over his yelling, and then it ended in tears for both of us with me storming off to the bathroom to calm down. Afterwards, I thought of how things could have been different, not perfect, just maybe a little easier if I had stayed calm. But I was tired and stressed. It had been one of those days, and when Michael’s anxiety skyrocketed out of control, I didn’t have the energy to stop him in time. I regret that I went along for the ride too. Lesson learned. I also realized that in order to teach by example, I had to be the calm in the storm, even if I felt the farthest thing from it. He has already happily exclaimed that sometimes Daddy or Mommy eat junk food when we are upset or drink wine.

“I’m going to do that one day too.”

“No, Michael. That’s not a healthy way to handle stress and anger.”

“Never.”

“Once in awhile having some junk food or a glass of wine is fine, as long as you don’t abuse it.”

“Oh.”

It was then that I realized that instead of helping him calm down about his school anxiety, without meaning to, I had gone along for the ride. It didn’t do either of us any justice in the end. When we made up, I made sure to tell him what we would do differently next time when we got angry. I made sure to go over all the techniques for handling anger, and he listened. I know I will have to enforce it though as he is little, but at least we had the talk.

What good examples have you set with your Exceptional Children? What bad examples have you set? I’m sure you’ve learned your lesson. It’s never too late to right a wrong, come clean, and show your child to do as you do not as you say. Until next time.

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