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The Truth About Trouble

Posted by Patience on March 17, 2009 at 5:40 AM in PatienceRaising BoysSiblings
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tricky trickster

It was late and they were fighting again. Jack knows just how to push Lucy's buttons to get that shriek out of her. I try to ignore it most of the time because that little girl can sure hold her own. This time however, she cried, it was the hurt feeling cry. It seemed the usual little sister and big brother bother had a little mean thrown into the mix. It was a sign something needed to be said.

"Jack, buddy, I think you've reached your limit my friend. I gotta take some Wii time away tomorrow." I said.
There was a look of instant panic. It's kind of rare at our house to have an actual punishment, lots of logical consequences but this, the Wii, it was a biggie. He started crying and it soon escalated into a full out tantrum. A tantrum at the age of six. I was kind of stunned. I started questioning my decision a little since the response was so strong and so rare for this kid. I guess maybe it had been building for awhile and a release was in order. There were so many big feelings and that can be tricky sometimes. I wasn't sure what to do but then instinct took over.

"Jack, do you know what can happen sometimes when you are getting into trouble a lot?" I said.

"No, what?" He said while trying to catch his breath in between the sobs.

"You can forget that you are loved. And the truth is, when lots of trouble is around it's a time when you need love the most. Do you think that could be happening to you right now?" I said.

His little face kind of changed. His eyes crinkled and his own hurt feeling cry started.

"Yeah! I need more love mom, I need more love." He threw his arms around me and buried his head in my chest and sobbed big, heavy sobs.

"I know Jackie, I can tell. And I know you are a kind boy with a good heart, I know this about you, it's okay. And papa is away and he is the one who snuggles you so much, I think you are missing that too." He nodded and we sat together in the moment.

We climbed in bed, all four kids. My arms too full with babies to even hold him but he snuggled up against me. He fell asleep with a red and puffy face and a quiet sigh, the drama behind us. I closed my own eyes knowing we would all wake up to less Wii, but maybe a little more love.

Any tricks for the big feelings in your house? Do share in the comments.


Nikki writes...

I just love this story!!! It's so tempting as a parent to get caught up in "keeping the peace"...which may be a short sighted goal. I will think of this story the next time we have a tantrum in the house, for sure!

Thank you so much for this example of passing on real and genuine emotional intelligence.

Kelly writes...

Oh, Patience, I'm wiping the tears from my eyes. I'm so proud of your boy to acknowledge it was exactly what he needed.

Vanessa writes...

Beautiful. Just the way I would hope to handle such a situation. Thanks for being an inspiration...

Becky writes...

That is just beautiful. With so much on your plate to do - 3 small kids and a new baby, yet you still have the compassion. It will definitely make me stop next time and think first (when my 3 are making me nuts). Thats a beautiful way to put it and I will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing such a warm loving story.

PatienceAuthor Profile Page writes...

Oh kind Becky, don't be fooled. My husband returned home to an extremely grouchy and frazzled mother. I should have mentioned that I was in serious crackdown mode the entire next day. :)

kelly writes...

ok, so lately our two year old has been trying on some pretty big tantrums. one day, at my wit's end, i asked my husband what i should do. he said he'd heard somewhere that it can help to take the kid in your arms and hold them--even if they struggle a bit--and tell them that you love them. i've been trying that and oh my goodness, what an amazing opportunity for closeness and understanding. it totally interrupts the tantrum from spiraling out of control and it gives my son a sense of security, i think. while i'm holding him close, i tell him i want to help him and i ask him what he wants. he doesn't always get it, but i always try to find a compromise, and things almost always resolve well...

Jess writes...

Oh, my goodness, Pache, I am stunned by your wisdom in the middle of a tantrum!

Six has taken me by surprise as well, I had no idea until lately what moodiness lurked in this year, and how much a 6 y/o boy would need his mama's love. Thank you for the reminder!

Tina writes...

Oh, I'm causing tantrums almost daily with my 6 year old. I'm giving out lots of love and hugs too but I think I need to try to help him name his feelings like this. Thanks a bunch!

Amy writes...

it usually goes something like this.
"did you know that even when you're in trouble I still love you more than anything? the way I see it, getting in trouble is just about learning how to be a nice person, it doesn't mean you're bad. you are NOT bad. did you know that when mommy and daddy were little they got in trouble too?" this then usually leads into an example and a walk down memory lane which helps to diffuse a mother's anger and humble her somewhat.

vanessa writes...

I swear, I got all teary. You gave him what we all want. Reassurance that we are still okay, still loveable when we are not being our best selves. Egad. I am all teary.

Lil writes...

Thank you Patience, I'm going to add this to my just-when-i-think-i've-had-it-but-my-kid-needs-me-more file...


Ann writes...

Wonderful story. I'm going to use it to help my relationship with my 7 y.o. daughter. We're 3 months into our first military deployment (Dad is in Afghanistan) and we're struggling with the simple things (getting dressed, showering, teeth brushing, etc.) that up until now were no brainers. We've gotten thru the worst (I think) with much-too-much screaming (from both of us) and lots of talking. Conversations like I never imagined. Several times, in the aftermath of a tantrum, I told her I loved her and she would start crying. She became the soft, wonderful person I adore and we could talk.

I like the words you use. Thanks.

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