Growing up, arguments happen. Children (and let’s face it, sometimes adults) don’t always have a handle on their powerful emotions, so a simple disagreement can quickly spiral out of control. Not being able to recognize a negative emotion for what it is can lead to an instant escalation that leaves both parties upset. One mom was having a tough day, and an even tougher time regulating her own feelings in an argument with her son.
At one point, he was so angry and frustrated that he stormed down the hall and slammed the bathroom door with all of his might. The mirror, mounted on the door, fell off and shattered onto the floor.
She was furious. But she stepped back and took a minute – something she wants us all to do – and had an incredible realization.
Her son hadn’t meant to break the mirror. In his anger, he hadn’t planned to make a mess in their home or break an important object. He was just mad. He didn’t know how to regulate his feelings or express his frustration, he only knew to react.And as I stood and considered whether or not this was an indication of his developing character, I heard his tears through the window above me, coming from inside the bathroom. His soul hurt. This was not what he expected either. Hello, Anger — I don’t remember inviting you into my house.”
She realized that he needed her to be the best that she could be in that moment. She swallowed her anger and went to her son with arms open wide, being gentle, firm, loving, and reassuring. There is always a better way to express your feelings, she told him…And they will work on it. “Tomorrow.”
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