This Mother’s Reaction to Her Son’s Fit of Anger Can Teach Us All a Lesson in Parenting
Parenting can be pretty overwhelming at times, so it’s refreshing when you stumble on a fellow parent’s perspective that’s just so spot on. That’s what we thought when we read how Kathleen Fleming responded to her son’s angry outburst.
This was the aftermath of a large mirror falling on the ground and shattering to pieces after her son slammed a bathroom door that led to this accident. Kathleen details, “Broken. Sharp. Treacherous. This was my hallway. It was my son who did this.”
What led up to this moment was her son’s expression of anger, frustration, and “fed-up for his very own, very significant to him, reasons,” Kathleen said. Once the door shut, the mirror slipped out of the hardware that’s holding it in place and then fell into pieces on the floor.
For all you mamas out there, what would you have felt at this moment? Would your fists be clenched up and ready to scold your kid for what he just did?
Here’s how Kathleen felt. “I was quiet. I surveyed the damage and took a deep breath… I walked into the backyard and felt the hot tears streaming down my face. It’s amazing how alone you can feel as a single parent in moments like these. I realized how scared and disappointed I felt. Did this really just happen? Yes. This was real.”
And as she was ready to confront her son, she said, “I heard his tears through the window above me, coming from inside the bathroom. His soul hurt. This is not what he expected either.”
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In that moment, Kathleen felt anger quickly fade away. She told herself, “Deep breath, #MamaWarrior. Deep breath. That small, fragile soul needs you right now. He needs your very best. Your biggest compassion. Your most gentle and firm mama love and reassurance.”
She went back inside the house and was met with her son’s gentle face in tears. As she approached him, she describes to herself, “See the face you love most in the world red with worry and wet with tears, his voice is suddenly so small: Mama, I’ll never do it again, I am SO sorry.”
Right then and there, Kathleen felt her son needed her utmost love and comfort. She immediately told herself, “Go Mama. Get him. Go now. Scoop him into your lap. Yup, you’re crying too. Damn this was big. Hold him tight. Watch how he curls into a ball in your arms so quickly. See how eager he is to be loved by you. To be reassured by you.”
She comforted him with expressions of love like “You are safe,” “I am right here,” “I’ve got you,” and “I love you.” Instead of scolding her son, Kathleen used that incident to tell him about anger and explained it in the way that he understood.
She said, “Anger is a really powerful feeling. You have a right to your Anger. Anger burns hot. It can purify. It can also destroy.” Thereafter, she used her mama love to tell him, “There’s a better way to show your big feelings. We’ll work on it together…tomorrow. I’m here to help you. You are safe. You are never alone in your anger.”
Together, they then proceeded to clean up the mess.
What flourished out this unpleasant accident is a situation that called for discipline and comfort in the most loving way. It also emphasized that love comes first before anger. Kathleen shares, “It’s not the breaking that matters, the how or why. What matters is how we choose to respond to the broken-ness. Does it kill us? Or does it help us remember how to love deepest?”
For Kathleen, it was the latter. This story serves as a great reminder for every parent to put ourselves in our children’s situation before we jump to discipline them roughly. Let’s ask ourselves, how can we best teach our kids when accidents and situations that happen call us to be angry? That is a parenting hurdle we can all try to be better at, and Kathleen’s actions did precisely that.
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