The other day, as I was working on my book, I heard a commotion in the hallway outside of my door. I could hear turmoil in my son’s voice. I called him into my room and asked him what was wrong. He kept saying nothing but it was visible that he was bothered. So I paused my writing and looked at him and said, “Son, I know that you are not happy right now and I am asking you what’s wrong so that I can help change the way this affects you.” He responded by saying that the reason he’s upset is a petty reason; his sisters broke his lego creations. When he spoke it, I could see the fury rising. He was crushed because they just simply dismissed his efforts and destroyed his work.
I talked to him and explained that his feelings are valid feelings but instead of lashing out or acting out of anger he needs to be alone and calm down before he reacts. He sat in my room with me and we talked about different things and then we hear my oldest daughter chime in. “Yeah, and clean up your legos too.” My son almost lost it. At that point he was furious. I explained things to him and then I released him from my grasp.
I then called my oldest daughter and explained to her why her statement was wrong. She looked at me and knew, she had caused all of this. During our conversation I discovered that my oldest daughter broke my son’s lego creations because he closed the door in her face and she was mad.
The whole time I am addressing my son and attempting to help him see that there are different ways to cope than to be physical, I needed to share the conversation with my daughter. I was thinking that they were playing and it happened as a result of that. I had no idea that my daughter was upset with her brother and purposely destroyed his things.
This lesson taught me so much about parenting. I learned how easy it is to forget that girls need that direction with coping too. It was not as if they are not all taught that, but this situation was so unique. There has been so much unity being taught to them and drilled into them that coping with division was neglected. I interact with them differently because of their gender. Raising boys and raising girls is so different. The differences in the way that they learn, respond, and interact are very noticeable. They taught me that I have to pay closer attention to the lessons that they need to be taught. I have to make sure that I am a shining example of how to handle disagreements, dilemmas, and discrepancies.
They made me realize, in that moment, that they are requiring different things from me as they transition into a new stage in their life. They need me more than ever. This is the part of life when emotions get high and families experience distance. I want them to respect one another and look out for one another so that is what I address a lot. Now we have to make some more specific adjustments based on their individual needs. That’s what comes with the territory when you are raising 3 preteens.