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Monday, May 20, 2013

Tantrum to Tranquility

image: flickr.com
I've shared the fact that one of my children has some anger management issues, right? Well....I believe we're finally on the right track. I thought maybe I wasn't giving him enough attention and in order to deal with his anger, I needed to give him more affection and love and patience. I did. All I got was a lot more anger from him. My heart was getting softer, his was getting harder. I didn't get it.

Like happens so often, a couple weeks ago, I had an a-ha moment. Clearly, what I was doing just wasn't helping. Again, we go back to this:

Thanks, Al!

What I was doing was showing forth a whole lotta love, but the logic was sorely missing. It just didn't
image: tumbler.com
make sense. I was being a doormat...a marshmallow. What I was teaching my son was that he was in charge.

What it all boiled down to was the fact that while I was stressing over him, I was getting nothing done. Things were falling into more and more disorganization. This just wasn't fair. He was sucking away my time AND my energy.

Enough was ENOUGH!

Confession, this morning was so tough that I went up to my room, threw myself onto my knees by my bed and told God that I was DONE. I had my little temper tantrum before the Lord and got back up. I will be honest, though, I was truly wondering how I was going to handle it all. 

As I walked back downstairs, I remembered something I'd used with kids in that past. Suddenly, I had a little trick up my sleeve (a strategy, if you will). I was in charge of the situation and that helped me to regather the peace required. I went at it all surprisingly calmly. 

I realized that I needed to return to the "energy suck" mentality because literally, that's what he was doing. I hadn't had to pull this card on any of my children in so long, I'd forgotten all about it. You know, the old "You're sucking away my energy, and the only way to refill it is to do some of the work I would be doing if I had more energy?" Yah, that one.

In other words, when this child freaks out, a job is required. You'd think this would make the anger worse, but as the jobs pile up, all I have to do is hold up fingers for how many jobs, and he cools right down. What I've really learned, though, is to never let him see me sweat. I have to be as calm and cool as can be, and sometimes, that's SUPER hard. 

The other thing I have discovered, though, is that I have to have some kind of goal to work toward--"These must be done before you can go to bed," "I'm making cookies this afternoon. If you'd like to join in, your jobs will have to be done," etc.

So far, so good. I think the added perk is that when he successfully finishes a job, he truly feels good about himself; thus reducing the anger even more.

It's been a rough morning this morning. We got all the way up to ten jobs, but I guess I should clarify....
It's been a rough morning...for him. For me, once I got off my knees, it's been pretty darned blissful.

Never did I think I'd thank my son for his anger issues, but man, they're really paying off. Life around here is quite a bit more peaceful and things are starting to really shape up.


LeAnn said...

I must admit I have had a similar situation once with my son. wow, I am so happy to be out of the stage of raising children. I liked that you took to your Heavenly Father in Prayer. I found that always seemed to help me get centered.
I loved this one!
Blessings and hugs!

Cassandra Scaggs said...

I am curious... What level of jobs are these?

Clean a toilet, clean the counter? etc.
do all the dishes?


Julie Hess said...

Depends on the child and what needs to be done. For example, on the day I wrote this, by the time he was done, my back deck was swept, the dishwasher was empty, the tables were cleared and wiped, the family room was cleaned up, the toy closet was straightened, the stairs were cleared off, the garbage and recycling were taken out, and a few other things. Of course, I'd taught him how to do all of these things over the last few years, so they weren't stressful for him.
When all was said and done, I explained to anyone who would listen, in front of him, that our house was clean because of his hard work. He was so proud of himself.

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