Sunday, September 6, 2015

Our Anger Management

Ahhh. I'm happy to report that everyone at the Beck household, whether they used the Three P's of September Survival or not, made it through the first week of school. Better yet, so far everyone seems, dare I say it, "happy". Jordan had a bout of anxiety on the first day, so a couple of her classes were a bit of a blur, but she got through it. I don't think these feelings freak her out as much as they used to, and she is lucky to have good friends that she can reach out to. She also made the morning bus every day this week. It's the small victories. I hope that the first week of September went well for all of you too.

Back to when Jordan was little.

At 17 months, we walked over to the same house that I wrote about when she was 4 months old. Now she was old enough to go on the swing set. The little boy was apparently on the swing that Jordan had wanted, so she threw a tantrum. There was another swing that was basically identical to this one, but that didn't matter. She was a toddler, and she was not getting her way. Since she wouldn't stop screaming and crying I decided that we needed to go home. Neither of us was having fun anyway. When she refused to leave, I had to pick her up. Picture a seven month pregnant woman trying to carry a flailing, kicking, screaming child down the block, while pushing an empty stroller. Not fun. I knew that she wanted to push her stroller, but I was so angry at this point, that I wouldn't let her.

Here is where I begin to self reflect. The question is, what was I so angry about? And this type of situation, as you will continue to see, happened so many times throughout the years. I reacted to her anger, with my own anger. I also reacted with anger towards her timidness and apprehension, as she got older. I am not proud of this fact.

Was I upset that my plan for her to have fun was not playing out? Was I worried about what the neighbors thought, and that they would judge my parenting skills? The answers to both of these questions was yes. I felt as if I would be categorized as a bad parent whose child was spoiled, unhappy and couldn't be controlled. It didn't help that whenever she didn't get what she wanted she threw a fit, no matter where we were, or who was around us.

And with my personality, I just couldn't give in once her behavior began to escalate.  I believed that it would only reinforce the bad behavior. The truth is, when I didn't understand her behavior, it really bothered me. Probably more than it should have.  I think that I am finally getting past this. It's about time, since she is almost eighteen. Or maybe I have just resigned myself to the fact that she is who she is. Her path is her own, and it will ultimately involve me less as the years go by. And that's okay.

Looking back today, it's hard for me not to wonder if my reactive anger towards the situation and towards her, contributed to her feelings of anxiety. Seeing an angry parent would cause any child to feel anxious and out of control. How could it not? The not-so-funny-thing is, that's exactly how I was feeling. Anxious and out of control, but it manifested as anger. I'm pretty sure that fighting fire with fire with a 17 month old is probably not the most effective parenting technique out there.

But just like she is who she is, I am who I am. Getting past the misunderstandings, resentment, anger and hurt, was not easy for either of us. It took hard work and more communication and honesty than I ever thought necessary, or possible. Are things perfect? Of course not. But I can say that today, without a doubt, that I truly enjoy spending time with her. I like who she is becoming, even though we have our differences. And today, thankfully, we are both much less angry.

I kind of wish that I had read this quote sixteen years ago, but better late than never. :)

Original quote by Leon Brown.

Thank you.

Us Too.

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