It was so frustrating, growing up with the constant “Why can’t you just listen?” or “Just do what you’re told!” I used to cringe when I heard teachers or parents address their kids this way.
Now I’m that parent. I have three kids, and these words should have special meaning to me. The other night, I was so fed up with the kids not doing what they were told and doing so much general kid stuff instead of just sitting and eating dinner or, later, getting their room picked up before bed. I found myself yelling at them constantly, louder and angrier each time. Now I’m cringing at myself. I am putting myself in the shoes of my wife in the other room and imagining what it must have sounded like to her. I let my temper get the best of me. Me. The guy who should be the first to not flip his lid or lose patience, because I’ve been that kid on the receiving end. Disgusting.
I often find myself lacking any and all patience as my kids lose focus and constantly have to be reminded to stay on task. I keep finding myself yelling, asking “Why can’t you just do what you’re told?” How and when did I become someone who will just go into beast mode and yell at the top of my lungs? I have recently found myself allowing the things that drive me nuts like house work and pet peeves to completely drain my patience, so that when it comes to keeping the kids on task or even just completing the normal evening routines like making dinner and bedtime, I have no patience at all. So they end up going to bed early, in tears. I end up going to bed early, with a head ache and an empty stomach because I completely screwed up the salmon and the asparagus (I keep the worst for myself). I am legitimately ashamed of my behavior the other night, and I keep thinking about how my kids must’ve felt, how I’ve felt as a child and even into adulthood when treated that way. I’m pretty sure my wife’s pissed about it. I would be.
I think I need to focus on things that are relaxing, like making sure we can all eat dinner at the table together as a family. There’s no disconnect from mom eating in the bedroom and the kids at the table and me in the kitchen. We can all just sit down and enjoy each other’s company. The night after the incident above, I was able to pull that off and it felt good. I washed the dishes after dinner too, and still had time to relax. we watched some TV together, and we talked for a bit over dinner about our day. It was normalcy.
So I have come out of the whole scenario with a new respect for the grownups of my life who put up with me as a kid and didn’t get homicidal. I also have developed a certain amount of shame regarding my behavior and my lack of ability to reign in my temper.
And I have made the realization that, this time, Tantrum won.