When one of my kids entered kindergarten, we found him irascible and a bit mean at the end of the day. We wondered what was going on, and we figured that this behavior was probably showing itself at school too. When we asked his teacher about it at our first parent-teacher conference, the teacher said that he is wonderful during the day - thoughtful, caring, and engaged - and that he’s probably just exhausted from being “on” all day.
It became so much easier to be with him after that. We gave him the space to be expressed however he was feeling, we stopped taking it personally, and we were able to love who he was no matter how much he seemed to hate us some evenings.
As our kids enter their teens, we’re seeing some of that behavior again. It’s a relief to find a lot of room still available to love my kids despite how they show up sometimes. Not to condone mean or disrespectful behavior, but to bring compassion and understanding.
Compassion and understanding feel better than anger and frustration. They diffuse heated situations. They suck the oxygen out of the flames of anger. They're also more effective at settling emotions all around. They soften the rock and hard place that our kids, our spouses, and our students sometimes find themselves between.
For some reason, sometimes it's easier to bring compassion and understanding to strangers than to people we're close to. No matter who we're with, though, we've always got the capacity to bring compassion and understanding. It always makes a difference for us and others.
When we've seemingly reached our own limits and crossed the threshold into exhaustion and our own "witching hour," isn't it nice when someone else gives us the grace of compassion and understanding?
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️