Oh, my patience wears so thin sometimes!
Surely if I could just scream, all would be well. Okay, maybe not.
The truth is, I've done enough damage. As I look back on the very difficult morning (actually, the afternoon was good for awhile and then went south again), I see how I contributed to the problem by letting my guard down and allowing myself to forget gentleness.
Gentleness in words.
Gentleness in tone.
Gentleness in spirit.
I didn't really yell or say anything bad. But when will I learn (or consistently put into practice) that the subtleties can be just as poison as the in-your-face stuff?
The longer I know, teach, and love this precious child of mine, the more I see that I have the potential to change the direction of our course with a simple unexpected cheerful word. Sometimes I have had the presence of mind to, in the middle of a tense "conversation," say, "I love you so much, [Little Mister]!" Or to say, "I think we both need a hug," and throw my arms around him. Even something as simply complimentary as "Cool shirt," or, "I like your hair today," or as ridiculous as, "Nice hole in your sock--how many toes can you fit through there?" can change things around in a second. No, he doesn't get away with whatever he's trying to pull, but he responds (usually) in a more positive way, and the bad mood is diffused. For a few minutes anyway. :)
Oh, that I would grow up and not feel so often like I have to "win" the debate every time in order to be respectable. I mean, as the parent, my say must be the final say. But there are different roads to that end, and I so don't want to be the poison that keeps us on the wrong road longer than necessary.
A reminder to myself: A kind, loving, cheerful or funny remark in the middle of an escalating "conversation" can potentially change the course of things for the better!