Friday, October 21, 2011

Dealing With An Angry Son

My son was angry with me yesterday which is not unusual since he is four years old and most children at that age do not have a good grasp on controlling their emotions. Normally he forgets about those kinds of feelings as soon as his attention in turned somewhere else. In other words, if you distract him from what made him mad he forgets about it immediately. In this case however it was for something that I said to him and he held onto that feeling for quite a long piece of time.

As we were pulling out of our driveway my windows were down and we heard some people talking who were walking in the street. It's quite normal for our neighborhood as there are no sidewalks there. My son yelled out something to them, he feels that he is the people police and when he thinks something is wrong he is not afraid to voice his opinion. At such a young age it's hard for him to understand that not everybody will take what he says kindly, some people get angry and others might even take a more violent reaction. Plus it's just plain rude to say things when something doesn't concern you.

So in that moment, where I knew I wouldn't like it if some unknown person yelled out at me, I turned to him quickly and told him to shut up, following it up with saying that what they were doing was none of his business. That was the first time that I can remember ever saying that phrase to him. I try not to say it to anybody ever, something that was instilled in me from the time that I worked at a Boys & Girls Club. Yes, I know that there are some extremely rare times that you may need to say it but this was not one of those times.

Several minutes passed by and then I said something to him but I could tell he was not happy with me so I asked him if he was angry. He said he was and when I asked why he told me it was because I told him to shut up. I confessed that I should not have said it but also reminded him that he needed to watch what he said to other people. He wouldn't look at me and in a moment of anger I told him he needed to learn about these things and that I wasn't happy with him and that I was done talking. It was childish of me but I was frustrated and in a moment of weakness I let it out.

At the babysitters house he wouldn't look at me or say goodbye and on the drive to work it really bothered me. Yes he shouldn't have yelled anything but I shouldn't have said things the way I did either, After all, I am the adult here, the one who is supposed to have learned some things in life. When my wife called me later she said that he had told her what I had said and she said that I shouldn't let it bother me so much, that I was the one who was trying to teach him these lessons and sometimes he would get his feelings hurt. Like me, he is very sensitive.

After getting home my wife woke up and told me that he was still angry and had told her that he wanted her to sleep with him, not me, even though he knew he would be asleep long before I got home. She agreed with me that he would be over it by the next day. True to form, the next morning all was well between us even though he made it clear that he remembered what I had said. I just tried to let him know that he couldn't go around yelling things at strangers. In this world we have today you never can tell how someone will react and I just want him to be safe. Nobody ever said it would be easy to raise a child and it isn't. He's a good kid, very intelligent and very inquisitive and he loves to help. I just hope I can arm him with enough life lessons and common sense that he'll be prepared.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

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