Maybe I’m asking for too much. When you sense something off in your family, you encourage people that you are receptive to listening and willing to be patient in the hopes that they get whatever is in their mind off their chest and out in the open. I’m aware of the fact that I may not be able to solve every problem in 10 minutes or 10 days- I just want as peaceful of a household as possible.
Competition rules my house. One afternoon I may spend half an hour helping one daughter with homework- the next I’ll have to help my other daughter. They have a difficult time studying in the same manner- one likes to be loud and boisterous, the other needs complete silence. As a result we had another major meltdown- although I don’t know exactly what I was doing to cause the events to unfold.
Is it wrong for me to want to talk things out before we reach implosion mode? I have no idea what happens often in the 6 hours they are at school. I’m sleeping, I take my shower and I stay awake for 30 minutes before they come home. I give them space to talk about their day, have a snack and unwind. They didn’t even have therapy today, so there should have been less anxiety than before.
I can’t take on the world’s problems. I can’t stop stress and frustration from entering their lives. I can only teach them to cope and use their minds to realize when they are escalating and hopefully redirect their behavior in another, more positive direction. I’m thankful my wife realized that I needed a little time to calm down after the tantrum and regather myself so I would be helpful to others later in the evening.
The winter time really has been harsh on the minds of my daughters. They feel constricted in the confines of the home. When I make suggestions for certain activities, they feign interest.
I guess when I feel emotional overload, I have multiple sources that will help me reflect and re-direct my energy in another direction. Sometimes reading works, sometimes listening to loud music works, sometimes writing gets the energy out, sometimes bowling diffuses things, even doing household chores. It’s a challenge to get the appropriate activities going that will work every time.
It’s the push and pull of children wanting to live in adult roles while we ask them to enjoy their childhood for just a few more years. My wife and I don’t want them to take on protective roles. We aren’t asking them to be queens of the castle, or our parents. We do want them to take responsibility for their actions and realize that words can cut deep, especially if they throw out accusations that they can’t really back up. I’ve found that being physically present but keeping my mouth quiet does wonders, as it forces both of them to really think about what the other person may be feeling and reflect on what was said or done to cause the response they are getting.
It’s why I have this blog. One of my healthiest resources outside of my wife, our therapists and our family and friends to just vent without hurting anyone. I’m sure others can relate to some of the experiences we go through- as all families have to work to get things accomplished. I advise everyone to not just recognize the power of words but also the tone and attitude you use when delivering them.
In the meantime, I’ll always make myself available to my daughters when they need a dad to listen.