My Volcanic Eruption 🌋
As a parent coach I really work hard to practice what I preach and commit daily to the practice of being a peaceful parent (wait for it…).
I can admit some days are not so easy and having a son that has some extra challenges can bring an added layer of difficulty for him and for me.
Last weekend I was proud of myself because I what is an epically peaceful parent when my son, in a fit of rage and frustration, walked out of his baseball game and left his team in the middle of their last game saying is coaches were “Trash!”
Now there are many layers to why this happened, and it’s been building over the season. Regardless, we were in shock when he stormed off but my husband and I both kept our cool. We tried to talk him into getting back into the game, but there was no hope. He told us he wanted to go home but we said no, we were going to stay and watch the game and cheer his team on. We also made him stay for his brother’s game which was right after. My son was NOT happy.
But boy oh boy I was so peaceful and nonreactive during all his complaining and anger….
The next day, once he had calmed down and I felt like it was a good time, I went to talk to my son, but he wasn't interested in talking responsibility for his actions at the game. I tried talking to him, but it was a losing battle because he was defending his position and yelling over me…
THAT’S WHEN I SNAPPED! There wasn’t a PEACEFUL bone in my body!
I YELLED at him to listen to me, so I could show him how he can learn from this experience, but he wouldn't listen. And in my frustration, I raged at him. Saying things like, “maybe you shouldn’t play sports anymore!” and “if you want to play next year, you can pay for your season!” I stormed out of the room, both of us unhappy.
After, I was mad at myself, mad at my reaction and mad at what I said. What the heck?
Where did that Volcanic-like eruption of anger come from?
Then I noticed something interesting.
I was mad at him because of what his decision meant for me… I was mad because it meant that I didn't get to enjoy the rest of that game. That I didn't have a chance to cheer him on. That I had a kid who acted so disrespectfully. I was embarrassed and I was put out. Really, my anger was all about me and what I was feeling.
Sure, my feelings are valid, BUT I didn’t take into consideration what my son must have been feeling. It wasn’t until I told the story out loud to my friend Andrea, and said the words “he has always gotten so much validation from sports…”
Crap! There it was, right in front of me.
Yes, he was disrespectful and yes, it was unsportsmanlike, but he was so frustrated because he wasn’t being ‘seen’ by his coaches as the athlete he is. My son had a major knee injury/surgery about a year ago and he is still not 100% back to normal and this has really held him back. His coaches never saw him as a capable player and it spiraled into him having a bad attitude for not being seen and validated for what he could do, to the coaches writing him off as a kid they didn’t want to coach.
After my realization, I was able to go back to him with much more understanding and empathy.
Sometimes our kids will show up in the most disrespectful ways but there is always more to it than just disrespect. This is a lesson in parenting I thought I knew and had a good handle on, but life (kids) has a way of testing you in the most sneaky ways. 😉
This situation was a good reminder for me and I hope this helps as a reminder for you as well. ❤️️
P.S. Our kids are only ever trying to get a need met or have a feeling acknowledged, even if we don’t like the way they go about trying to get it met. They really aren’t intentionally trying to be bad, naughty or wrong. If you can pay attention to what they might be needing and feeling, you can address any situation from a peaceful place.