I’m a monster. Don’t worry, some of you are, too.
I lost it this afternoon when Charlotte asked me for help with her piano homework. There’s no excuse, though I could certainly offer a few up. She needed me and I lost patience. I lost my temper. I lost it.
She was nearly a month behind on her piano homework in one of her books. Why? I’m not sure, but she had been lying to us whenever we’d ask her if she was finished it. In hindsight, I should have been double checking. She’s seven.
Why do we, as parents, lose our cool when our kids don’t do what we’ve asked of them?
Because we allow it to become our problem.
That’s true with almost any situation in life.
Charlotte didn’t do her homework and fell behind. She was so behind that she needed help catching up. And it made me mad because I felt embarrassed and I decided to make the problem mine.
I did this.
Was I right to feel frustrated with the situation? Absolutely.
Am I allowed to feel irritated when she doesn’t meet the clear expectations that are set for her? Yup.
Should I handle these situations with calm? Yes.
And I didn’t. That was my doing, not hers.
That ugly monster itches to come out and play. It’s the monster that I think lives within us all, the one that thrives in chaos, that enjoys yelling, that feeds off of your elevated cortosial. What if, instead of answering the door when the monster comes knocking, I take a minute to ask myself: Who owns the problem?
When I get to the point where I’m so frustrated that I start to lose my temper, I need to look for logical consequences that keep the problem with the responsible party and not with me.
At the end of the day, when I allow a problem to become mine, I’m not only allowing the situation to affect those who happen to be in the blast radius of my own explosion but I’m also punishing myself when I inevitably feel like a monster and a failure in the aftermath.
Parenting is hard. Godspeed.