“Why are you yelling at me?”
“I am not yelling, I am just telling you something you do not want to hear.”
“Yes, you are, you are yelling at me. You are mad at me. Why you have to be so mean, Mom?”
Have you ever had a version of this conversation with a child?
I sure have.
Can you feel your blood boiling just thinking about the interaction and the lack of productive communication?
I sure can.
I like to communicate, to work everything out. I am a talker – it’s no wonder I became a teacher and coach. As a result, when these interactions happen with my children all I want to do is “talk it out.” There is a part of me that wants to talk and talk until they see why we as parents usually know best. I want them to have an “Ah- ha” moment. Then all will be right in the world.
In the past when these interactions with my kids would occur I would continue to push. To talk, talk, talk. I wanted them to see I was right. Instead, emotions rose, feelings were hurt, and exhaustion ensued.
It all changed a few years ago when I was discussing something with my husband. He had just arrived home from a long business trip and was totally exhausted. I jumped right into all the things that happened when he was gone, asking his opinion about this and that.
Finally he looked at me and said “Can we table this until tomorrow? I just cannot handle this kind of conversation right now. I’m too tired.”
At first I was sad, hurt, and maybe even a little mad not to be able to talk then and there. Then I realized that he really wanted to be focused when we talked. Waiting would allow him to rest and be his best.
A few weeks later I had my “Ah- ha” moment during a stressful conversation with one of my children. I asked him, “Do you want to wait and talk about this another time?”
The shock on his face was amazing.
“Yes, please,” was the response.
So we agreed on another time to talk and it went much better. Not perfect but better. We heard each other and no one was upset in the end.
We give our spouses, friends, and co-workers the respect to table conversations. I believe that our children deserve the same. So, the next time a discussion goes terribly wrong with your child, STOP. Ask when he would like to revisit the subject. You will be amazed at how much better the interaction will be and how much the relationship will improve.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…
By Megan Stone, M.Ed.
Founder of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.