Wrong side of the bed. Late. A solid work schedule with over-committed appointments. A solitary banana for breakfast. Mix in a six and two year old trying to have a leisurely breakfast and you’ve got irritability. Time to get out the door kids!
One thing to remember–and I write this for myself most of all–is that when you’re mad about any or all of the above. Or maybe what you are mad about isn’t even listed, your kids probably think you’re mad at them.
Kids are sensitive. We’re all sensitive, but it’s not until we are adults that we realize we all carry our own stuff and how we react to the world involves that stuff and often not what is happening in the moment. Maybe you even know of an adult who is still learning this.
We’re humans and faulty, so we end up hurting each other. But as a dad who gives effort to strengthening myself spiritually, I want to emotionally harm my kids as little as possible. I don’t think anyone wants to purposely harm their kids. Many don’t want to harm them at all, although I believe that this type of perfection is impossible.
According to this Psychology Today article, the reason we really get upset with our kids because they make us feel inadequate.
This is a good thing though. That’s what they are saying anyway. Wait for it. Every kid is different, and the humbling state of feeling inadequate helps us to be guided by our kids, rather than dictate what we think is best for them. When I think I know what is best for them or the situation, I get “mad dad” syndrome.
This syndrome is something I made up, or I should say was taught to me by my son. I can’t exactly think of what the situation was but he drew me a picture of what I looked like when I was upset with him.
Honestly, I’m trying to remember why I was upset, but I can’t. It was a weekend, and I probably had too high of expectations about how much I could achieve on that given day. And because I wasn’t achieving as much as I thought I should be, I felt inadequate. Enter anger.
And if I am to get rid of the anger, I need accept myself, flaws and all, as adequate. And if I am going to accept the version of God that I want to accept–rather than a fire and brimstone God–then I believe he loves me no matter what.
We love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
But you, O Lord, are a merciful and loving God, always patient, always kind and faithful. (Psalm 86:15)
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
There are many more. Google it.
Basically, no matter what I do the universal power I chose to call God will not take his love away from me. And if I can be grounded in that, loving myself as a flawed individual who makes mistakes, is never perfect but always striving to do his best, then maybe, just maybe, I can let go of my irritability and be taught something.
Maybe I could be taught how to savor the moment and paint wooden robots in a spare 10 minutes before heading out to work and school: