As I said at the end of the last post, I don’t think we necessarily have angry children, but they are quick to anger, and can throw tantrums quite easily. This in turn gets us flustered, and aggravated, and loud – and as a result we as parents get angry and yell at the kids. It’s a never-ending cycle, really. Because angry parents create angry kids. And I don’t want angry kids.
This week I have made a point of trying NOT to get angry with the kids over the little things. And then when larger things have occurred I’ve tried to keep my patience longer than I normally would.
Do I see tangible results? Actually, I do. CB tends to fly off the handle – he hates being interrupted and does NOT like being teased. Those two things combined? Horrific. If you interrupt him with a joke he will NOT be your friend, let’s just put it that way. However after a few days of my avoiding a raised voice, I noticed that he was reacting to things less angrily as well. He even managed to play on the Wii with Denis last night and kept his cool for a long time (Denis does NOT know how to play the Wii and CB can get frustrated with people who don’t know what they’re doing). He did eventually break, but with a calm admonition (“You can’t yell at someone who has never played before”) he slowed down. It also helped that Denis didn’t get angry for CB’s behavior, but just sat on the sofa and laughed over his inability to play. I think if Denis had fed into CB’s mild temper tantrum that it would have made it worse. So bravo, Denis!
On the other hand, we had an issue when CG was doing her homework the other night. She hates homework and never wants to do it. Denis was attempting to help her and she was refusing to do it (there was lots of whining and crying). He eventually lost his patience and took her hand to escort her to the stairs to go up to her room. She wailed about him grabbing her hand more than at the idea of having to go to her room. Why? Because physical touch is an important love language to her. So Denis trying to physically escort her to the stairs was terrible for her.
I gently intervened to keep things from escalating, and they eventually got CG’s homework done. And do you know what she did? She said to Denis, “Daddy, I’m sorry that I acted that way before.” She said it absolutely sincerely to him, with absolutely no prompting from ANYONE to say it. I gave her another hug and told her I was very proud of her for that apology. She was positively preening with happiness for that positive feedback (physical touch from the hug and words of affirmation).
Last night she balked at doing her homework again, and began throwing a tantrum. What could have taken 5 minutes to do took 25 because of her reticence. But I stayed calm, never raised my voice, explained that “we’d be done by now if you’d settle and just DO it,” and she eventually did it. If I had lost my temper with her for the tantrum, I guarantee that homework wouldn’t have gotten done because she’d have been sent to her room for the night at the rate she was going.
So do Love Languages work? Yes they do. I’m convinced of it. And it’s only been a week.