I am very proud of how well Michael is handling stress overall in his life. He is learning how to deal with stressful feelings in a better way at home too. There are less explosions, less hitting and other aggressive behaviors with me and even with Dad. We’ve had our moments, and it’s always been when I am wishy washy or Dad is, in other words, changing our minds in what we say or do. Last night we had a small fight about said rules, and it made me realize how important having a face to face conversation with Dad about rules for Michael is. It is hard some nights. We are exhausted, we have work to do, and we don’t always have the time to talk. But let’s face it, we all need to check in with our partners on parenting or else any child will try and play the parents off each other. I believe everything that happens happens for a reason. As a family we have entered the next phase of growing together, and that means growing strong as a unit where there is no negotiating, no hemming or hawing, and clear rules and boundaries for all of us.
Michael, like any child, is smart. He knows how to push buttons, and often it is not even about getting his way because that is necessarily what he wants. I think it is also to see if he can do it because he can. There is bravado, there is anxiety, there is fear, there is spirit. As his parents, we are careful not to crush his spirit, but lead him to learn about the benefits of our rules and boundaries for his safety. Some days that is easier than others.
Michael has opened up my world and helped me find courage, freedom from most of my anxieties, and helped me become a risk taker. He is all of these things, even with the anxiety and fear I know he lives with. He shows me every day what he needs or does not need, and humbly helps me to learn when I make a mistake. I think he does the same for his father. We are as much his student and he is ours, learning from each other what is good and not good to do as a family and as an individual. Some days I get it totally right. Some days not. The same can be said of him. The same can be said of his Dad. I am just glad after a rough start to the night yesterday, things ended well before I left home for my writers meeting and we all made up with one another. I remembered my Mom’s words from when I was a little girl, to never go to bed angry.
How do you handle stress and angry emotions? How does your child? What ways do you decrease stress and find tools to calm down? What does your child use? If you don’t have answers to all of these questions, don’t worry. Start thinking about them and writing down some suggestions for you and your child.As a family, having clear, consistent boundaries, rules and ways to express feelings in a calm way, will help all of you to grow together positively and get through the hard moments. Until next time.