When was the last time you were angry with someone you loved? When was the last time someone you loved, rightly or wrongly, thought you were angry with them?
Just the other day, I was upstairs in our house. I heard Trent and Troy being boys downstairs, which means they were having some fun, running and chasing each other from one room to the next. Suddenly, I heard a door slam. Trent had slipped into the bathroom, hoping to hide from Troy.
What was that? I quickly realized it was the sound of Troy kicking the door behind which Trent was hiding.
Troy knew better than to kick a door. I was in no mood to have to repair or replace it, so I shouted down to them to knock it off.
The kicking immediately ceased and I heard Trent open the door. I made my way downstairs to talk with them about the incident.
When I saw Troy, I could see he was upset, complete with tears in his eyes. I was surprised, especially since he was the offender and agitator. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “You’ve never yelled at me like that before,” he answered softly. “It scared me.”
Over the years, I’ve certainly done my share of reprimanding the boys, but my temperament is more inclined toward conversation than loud confrontation. I’m just not a yeller, nor do I respond well to it, either, except maybe on the football field.
The way I released Troy’s tension was to let him know what made me anxious was that I wasn’t good at repairing things and if he broke the door, it would cause me a lot of stress to fix it. He laughed and said, “Really, you’re good at repairing things.” I said, “Not really.” He was amused.
Troy is a gentle and sensitive fellow, and he’s quick to heed correction, but like me, just doesn’t respond favorably to raised voices.
Every parent must correct and guide their child in a manner that best matches their personal temperament. If you have more than one child, what works for one may not work for the other. Some children will crumble at even the slightest glare. Others require far more direct communication.
One size doesn’t fit all.