On more than one occasion when one of my children have been struggling, I’ve initially gotten frustrated with them and their behavior which only made matters worse. When their mood is thrust upon you, especially at the most inopportune moments, it’s easy to fall into the fatal trap of “not you too?”
There was one particular moment when my son was acting up and lashing out. I couldn’t for the life of me understand what was going on with him. He was doing everything he could to get under everyone’s skin. Once he accomplished that the negativity in the room only escalated.
As the circumstance continued to spiral downward we reached a point where I simply didn’t know what to do. There was anger, frustration, disappointment, resentment, bitterness, exhaustion, rage, all bundled together building up inside of me as I began to truly hate the moment and what I was being forced to deal with.
He stood there screaming at me, calling me names, yelling, kicking, hitting; doing everything he could to lash out. The more I told him to stop, the more he increased the volume and intensity. I could feel myself boiling inside ready to do ANYTHING to stop it.
I finally hit my limit, grabbed him and held him close to me. In an instant he stopped. His body fell limp as he put his arms around my neck. A heavy sigh escaped his lungs as he laid his head on my shoulders and emotionally collapsed.
We stood there like that for about twenty minutes and the world disappeared.
I don’t know what started his fit. No idea where it came from or what initiated it. I could blame it on the divorce. Could blame it on his sisters. Maybe he hadn’t had enough rest. Maybe something happened at school. Who knows. Hell, who knows why we lash out at people we love sometimes.
I think about that moment from time to time. Especially when one of my kids is acting up. Trying to understand what’s going on in their little minds and hearts is an impossible task. Sometimes they end up in their room. Sometimes timeout. Sometimes they get a lecture. And sometimes they get a hug. Each moment is a new learning experience as a parent.
But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that when they’re at their worst, that’s typically when they need our best.