Last night, our second-born, strong-willed, ball-of-energy-and-strength-and-passion son was showing me a few of his latest “tricks.” I watched somewhat half-heartedly and made the typical distracted mom comments.
“How do you DO that?”
When suddenly he made this horrible grimace.
He effectively described it as “putting pressure” on his face. To me it looked an awful lot like his angry child face.
Curious, I asked him why he would put pressure on his face. He matter-of-factly explained that it helps him get his anger out when he’s frustrated or feeling angry.
Then he showed me another of his typical angry child poses (fisted hands clenched tightly at his sides) and told me that putting pressure on his body helps him get anger out, too.
Once he was done with the demonstration, he sauntered away, like it was no big deal for a seven-year-old to have such knowledge of his own emotions and body.
I sat there stunned…
This post now has a new home! Click here to read the rest. 🙂
Jennifer 'Miner' Ferguson says
Isn’t it amazing what our children will articulate when we figure out how to ask the questions. Amazing job here and I am so thankful you shared this wisdom. I assume so much…and I shouldn’t.
Kristin Hill Taylor says
I’m so guilty of assuming based on something that happened before. Then I feel guilty that I’m putting my kids in a figurative box and not believing they can change. That’s just plain silly because I’m an example of how God works even we try too hard and mess it up. Thanks for this reminder that we are all indeed works in progress.
I think we’re all guilty of trying to put others into boxes and failing to recognize change at some point or another. Several years ago, the Lord really convicted me of this with our strong-willed son. I realized that I was treating him like he was a “bad” kid most of the time. I expected him to misbehave and I was quick to become irritated with him. When I realized my attitude toward him, I felt so terrible. But even though it hurt, seeing my parenting through the Lord’s eyes helped me to make some important changes (some of them are still works-in-progess). I try to praise a lot more than I used to with him, and that seems to help tremendously. I ask the Lord to help me see the good things in him that I sometimes miss. I also determined to try to take my time and remain calm when he does start to get worked up. It changed my whole attitude toward him and I began to appreciate him for who he really is. Usually if I can get to the root of the problem without becoming angry or frustrated myself, then we can successfully resolve situations without a major conflict. It’s all a learning process, for both parent and child, I think!
Pouring Down Like Rain says
This is wonderful advice. With our adult daughter we sometimes struggle with communication. When to call, should we call, are we bugging her, etc. Why hasn’t she called, ha ha. It’s crazy. And we worry a lot, she is far away. Then, are we interfering vs. are we being good parents by speaking up when we think she needs to hear something. The dynamic changes so much when they are older. You will see…smile!
Oh, I don’t even want to think of the day! 🙂 I think whenever the Holy Spirit prompts, that’s the perfect time to speak. And even if you are “bothering her,” if it’s something she needs to hear, then in the long-run, I think she’ll be thankful. I know that’s been my experience anyways. Many parenting choices I disliked as a young adult, I now greatly appreciate because I see them in a different light! Thanks for stopping by!
This is brilliant! I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. We also have a 7 year old strong-willed son who makes a mad face and fists when angry. We also have been taking it as a sign of disrespect. You have opened our eyes! We will now pay better attention to determine if it’s actually disrespect or self control. Thank you!
I think our son probably is exhibiting disrespect or defiance on occasion, as well. So, it will be a learning process to determine which is which! 🙂 However, if he ultimately chooses to do right, then we’ll choose to consider that a victory! Thanks for stopping by!
This is great, Jen. I’m so glad you gave him the opportunity to explain why he did those things. I’m not sure I would’ve taken the time to hear my son’s side of things and I would’ve missed the growth and positive motivations. Thanks for sharing your son’s insightful practice and being vulnerable enough to admit your own mistaken understanding about it.
All credit goes to the Lord for providing that quiet moment! I think the key was that he was doing it while playing around. 🙂 Because I’ve seen that posture plenty of times before, but always in the midst of stress or conflict. Now, the real work will be in not taking offense at that face and posture the next time we have a “parenting moment!” Hopefully, I’ll remember the motivation behind it. Thanks for stopping by!
Jen Avellaneda (@Jen_Avellaneda) says
Jen – I think you have hit on the key in parenting….to ask the Lord to lead you as you raise children. Each child can be so different, it is great that you took the time to explore your individuals sons emotions, in order to find out what he does and why he responds the way he does. Listeners make excellent parents. Thanks for sharing that gift with so many at UNITE Tuesdays, Jen
Proverbial Homemaker (@PHomemaker) says
This has given me so much to think about. My oldest is similar in expression and one of my daughters (well, maybe both) are just giant puddles of big feelings nearly all day! I’m getting big feelings just thinking about it. 😉 Featuring you on this week’s Hearts for Home blog hop!
Thanks so much for the feature! I’m still working out how this will affect our parenting, as well, but I’m thankful for the insight into our son’s mind and emotions.
Jen, I appreciate this so very much. It’s easy to jump to conclusions – I do this often myself, tending to think I know what’s in my kids’ hearts. The truth is, it’s much better to give them the benefit of the doubt. Thank you for this wise word! I’m pleased to feature it at A Divine Encounter this week. Thanks for sharing it with us at G&T! 🙂
Thank you, Jennifer! Each time I see it, it’s a much-needed reminder for me, too. 🙂
Wow, what a beautiful gift God gave you with that little window into your son’s heart! His ability to articulate what he was doing when he felt angry is wonderful. Yes, each kid is so different- and just when we think we’re figuring them out, they often change and move onto a new phase. Parenting is not for the weak. I don’t know how I could do it without God.
It really was a gift, Dawn. I think the Lord knew I needed to have that glimpse into my boy’s heart. It’s so easy to feel discouraged in parenting and think that no changes are happening. But sometimes the changes are internal, so I’m thankful for that lesson. It definitely was a God thing.