I was walking down the street one day…
Imagine being on a walk with your child and you are approached by a frail, physically non-threatening stranger who begins to yell at Junior. Given the stranger’s weakness, it is not likely that you would strike him. Instead, you would probably simply walk away with your child. But WHY would you walk away? The obvious answer is, “To protect my child.” But in our example there is no physical threat, so what are you really protecting? You are protecting your child’s happiness and emotional well-being, of course. As such, consider these two questions:
First, if you would not allow a stranger to yell at your child, why would you yell at your own child? This question is designed to create discomfort, because from discomfort comes growth. Would you yell at your child if he was 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 350 pounds, or would you be afraid? We have “Absolute” Power over our children, because we have control over mostly every aspect of their life. “Absolute” Power can be put to use in good or bad ways. So we need to be careful. There are lots of ways to gain compliance without shouting and intimidating.
Second, consider another challenging question. We know that you would protect your child’s happiness, but shouldn’t you also protect your own? You may ask, “How can my happiness be protected?” Simply recognize that your emotional response to a situation is your choice, and then instead of being angry and pessimistic, choose to be positive and optimistic.
Remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “That old law about an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind,” and William Shakespeare, who wrote, “Nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so.”