bad temperI admit it’s a self-serving question since I lost mine yesterday. I had been doing sooo well not getting angry. I was parenting with pizzazz. But the strain of the holidays apparently can get to me, too, even without the added pressure of RAD kids having their own unmanageable feelings about Christmas.

It happened in a split second when my fourteen-year-old daughter was being extra snotty. Not to defend my behavior, but she could make Mother Teresa spit. I think I’d gotten a little complacent because I’d been doing so well and I lashed out without even thinking.

I hate it when you can’t unring the bell. You just have to deal with the fact of having blown it. I apologized, of course, and I tried not to beat myself up all day, but I was pretty down. It sets us so far back when I get angry, because my daughter especially becomes so frightened. (Which, to be honest, makes me angrier since I’m not the one that did all the bad things to her, but that’s my own stuff that I need to handle better. )

Then tonight both of my sons lost their tempers with each other. My seventeen-year-old, who by now can write a darn good essay about his feelings, wrote that he had been doing really well controlling his temper with his ten-year-old brother but tonight the “fur ball” as Gavin called him, was just too annoying.

Gavin admits that he got a little lazy about following the rules for when Justin annoys him. We reinforced that when he isn’t able to handle his little brother, he needs to come to us so we can help.

My ten-year-old refused to write his essay, broke some hangers, threw trash all over the floor and screamed and yelled for fifteen minutes. I told him we were sorry for putting so much pressure on him to write an essay, and that it was probably too much pressure to go to his soccer game tomorrow, too. We’ll see if he feels he can handle both the pressure of writing an essay tomorrow and therefore the pressure of going to his soccer game.

So…trying to learn what we can and make the best of things, I’m wondering if perhaps it serves some value for me to lose my temper once in a while. Sometimes I think my kids think I don’t make the mistakes they do, or that somehow they are defective in controlling their tempers whereas the rest of us aren’t. When I lose my temper, they can see that we are all imperfect and each need to be vigilant or it can happen. They also see the way I handle it, which is to apologize, explain that I got lazy about controlling it, and promise to do better. I notice that it’s essentially the same process my older son went through in his essay. I’m satisfied with his response to losing his temper. Hopefully he learned some of it from me.

As for my ten-year-old, well, some of us have a harder time controlling our tempers than others. And some of us learn more quickly than others. Let’s hope he’s two for two by the time of his soccer game tomorrow.

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