I am writing this post yes for myself to journal about this experience, but also for you. The mom or friend or brother or child in the family where things get hard sometimes. Or maybe lots of the time.
I am writing to tell you that even though, yes, we as a family have lots of funny stories to share, yes we get to travel the country together, and we live as a family grounded in faith and our house is covered in art projects with music blaring, we struggle with anger.
A lot it seems.
We live big. I don't mean financially, I mean intense and passionate big. We are big and passionate when we love each other and when we are angry with one other. We talk loud, we dance every day, we run and don't walk, we eat a lot. It seems everything we do and all that we are is just heightened a bit. A little extra if you will. I often call my children full. This is not to imply that other children or families are lacking. Not at all. Somehow though my children have tapped into all their thoughts, emotions, creativity, and life's purpose all ready, at a very young age. So they often feel like grown up people, just crammed in little bodies and they are screaming and clawing their way out.
This is all good and wonderful and you get really funny stories, until they get upset and even those thoughts and feelings are extra large. That's when people start to get hurt.
I will often say we know how to do 80% of life well. But we really struggle with that other 20%.
Those times when the kids are not doing their homework and I remind them again for the seventh time and they get angry. The day you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and the next door neighbor hears about it. Or when you are still trying to teach your kid to tie his shoes two years later because he gets frustrated with himself and gives up and starts huffing and puffing and throwing a tantrum.
At 8 years old.
Our oldest has been gifted with direct access to all of my red hot issue buttons. I mean seriously, buttons I didn't even know were triggers for me, he found them. And he LOVES to push them. He must, because he does it ALL.THE. TIME.
So, we don't do the hard stuff well.
We don't argue well. We can sometimes get hurtful.
We don't always do discipline well. Sometimes it isn't patient and thoughtful, its just down right yelling to get you to go to your room, of which I am never proud of.
And for our oldest, it seems there are lots of things that make him frustrated. No matter how we have tried to work with him to find systems where he can find success in doing his homework and chores and helping his siblings, he really struggles anger and frustration. He is incredibly vocal about it and so the negative energy permeates the entire house.
It's really hard to have frustration in the home. I am weary of fighting it. Tired of counteracting it. Researching ways to avoid it.
I believe that some of the reason for this frustration is directed at his restricted diet to keep him off of meds for ADD/ADHD and sensory issues. I know part of the reason for his fear (which fuels anger) is the weather after a tornado hit our home three years ago. And the brutal truth is that living in the most crime dense neighborhood of Minneapolis posses an ever constant dull awareness that we are not safe.
I could go on and on about why I think he might be angry, or why I am angry with him, or why we yell more than we are proud of.
But the truth is that we are maxed out in our understanding of how to help each other.
So we are starting counseling.
We need counseling to learn how to do the hard stuff better. To find tools in how to communicate with each other so that we aren't doing irreparable damage to our relationships. I can't send my son into adolescence with all this fear and anger, only to add more life and insecurity that comes from school to the mix. I don't want our relationship to continue being built on a mine field where we never know when he is going to explode. The prayer is that a counselor can give us ways to respect each other in our hard time and know how to handle it better.
I am not foolish enough to believe that we won't ever fight again. That will most likely happen within the next 24 hours. But what do I want?
I want my son to know that I will do anything for him. That I will find a way or a person that will help him love himself and life.
I want my son to know that talking to a counselor is not for crazy people, but for people who are ready to admit that the knowledge you hold alone sometimes isn't enough.
I want my son to know that asking for help is OK.
I want my son to know that he is OK. That he is funny, and compassionate, and thoughtful, and silly, and smart. That he is all of those things, and he is frustrated. So let's see how we can deal with the frustrated.
I want my son to know that we are a safe place where he can come and he knows we see all of him and love all of him.
I want to give my son the gift of self awareness. This is a gift that helps you navigate faith, judgement, relationships and life. The more self aware we are, the more compassionate we can be.
And I want my son to learn healthy communication in order to understand faith, God and others.
So.... we are going to counseling. I want to encourage you, if there are some really hard things going on in your life, please give yourself the gift of counseling. To have another pair of eyes and ears in your life that will encourage you in what you do well, and give you tools to handle the hard stuff.