The other day, my 5 year old was putting some action figures in jail. Unfortunately for him, a few of those belonged to his little brother. As you can guess, an argument ensued. Of course this doesn’t happen in a vaccum, and in this case we were already 3 arguments or so deep. The best response would probably have been to ‘not react’ and take away the figures from the 5y/o. But perfection doesn’t happen in this house. Hell, most of the time there is disdain in my voice and I often raise my voice to boot (and that’s not what I’m trying to get across here). Anyway, I kept it reasonable until he growled at me. Then it was on.
So I lost this one. I lost the battle and the war. The battle was his growling, and the war is when our kids are all grown up.
And when I get to write about it here, I realize I should be fine with the losing. In fact I need to be over the top, maybe obsessed with losing.
So what would I want to lose? And why?
Well, losing, in this case, is a test. My 5 y/o has been testing us a bit more lately, and this is a good thing. Because him testing, and more importantly our reactions, is the precursor for everything that happens as a teenager to. So if I react over the top to these things now, my son will be very clear on what’s going to happen should he gain a rebellious streak when he’s 14. He will literally have the button to my anger and be able to push it at any point. Some might say that’s not a bad thing – he knows what he’s not to do. But we’re in this to win the war not the battles. And we might win a few with fear based tactics, but let’s flip the script for a minute. If we’re calm. And in this case I simply tell him that I’m adding time to his time-out due to the aggression, and walk away – well there’s no point in yelling back. In fact, he may try out bargaining, or pleading, or god forbid – even learning a time or two in that time out chair.
So I have some work to do. Maybe you’re like us, and have some too. Hit subscribe in your favorite app or rate us on Apple Podcasts – that would be awesome! And we’ll talk, tomorrow.