Every parent will shrink at this, but fighting is scary for children... period.
Taken further in, we see that little people quickly feel overwhelmed when more powerful bigger people lose control emotionally. The fury of rage can leave a scornful mark of nervous hopelessness on the child affected.
The trouble is, for all adults, we’re back into our threatened ‘child states’ in a flash. As soon as our emotions twist their way over, in, and through our hearts, we find it a big challenge to resume proper perspective.
Biggest Bang for Buck
It pays for parents — or those in parental (and child leadership) roles — to heed thought on the following two ideas:
1. Anger and children do not mix. Every parent reading this will attest to the damage that can be done to young formative souls on the receiving end of anger. We’ve all lost control and the salience of a shrieking mother letting fly at their panicked toddler mid-shopping-mall is an indelible reminder. Fathers, too, can be physically scary, not understanding their power.
2. Parental awareness of triggers to child states is a key for family safety. It’s not up to the children to pitch in with adult perspective. That’s our role. The best gift we can give our kids is stability — to be that stable and safe base for them to found themselves in.
To Be Mindful Of...
Whilst the above points are bound to prove challenging for many of us, I for one am reminded of the many mistakes I’ve made in my parenting to date. There are more to come...
The commonest emotion articles like this intuit are guilt and shame for the failures of our pasts.
Yet, this topic is not so much about looking back as it’s about ever looking forward, with an honest commitment to make amends (without causing pain) where we can.
Parenting is an idea made by God to help us understand the Divine perspective; that love is a tremendously difficult thing to achieve in this broken world.
God’s design, then, is for us to learn humility and wisdom; to become imperfectly selfless leaders and lovers of our children.
The biggest thing we best bear in mind regarding parental fighting or anger directed at children is to deal effectively with the causes of it, before it spills out boiling over innocent bystanders.
It’s critically important we’re honest with ourselves and others, always. This will require courage to trust. This discomfort is preferable to the discomfort we’ll face after poorly managed conflict; the costs borne of our anger.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Ricardo M. Adobbati, Attorney at Law.