“Sir, put your hands down,” the voice said through a loud speaker as my husband and daughter careened through the air on a giant pirate ship. Throwing back their heads, laughter burst between them as they continued waving their hands wildly in the air.
“Sir, I mean it. Stop doing that or you will not be allowed on this ride.”
A minute later, the pirate ship controller stopped the ship and asked my husband and daughter to get off. I couldn’t believe it. My 40 year old husband was getting kicked off of a ride at our county fair! Kicked off… with my daughter! Turns out they couldn’t hear what he was saying. They now tell the story with a fair amount of pride.
Amusement parks give us a window into parenting. Have you ever been on one of those really crazy roller coasters? The kind that take you straight up in the air only to drop you down seconds later like an inverted rocket? Up and down, up and down they go, over and over again.
Just like our kids’ emotions as they grow up.
From day to day, moment to moment, their moods may rise and fall in a constant state of change and unpredictability – especially during those in-between years when hormones are pumping. Many only talk about girls and their moodiness, but boys experience these highs and lows also. They may manifest differently, but they are there.
One night during my daughter’s middle school years, I sat on the floor of my room, completely distraught and undone over a situation. My husband, seeing my despondent state, dropped down by my side and reached out to take my hand. “You’ve got to get off the roller coaster, babe. Then, wait for her to get off before you talk to her about it again.”
He was right. I had let my emotion rise so high that you would have thought I was the middle schooler!
When my children are upset about something, I have a tendency to hop on the emotional roller coaster with them. I can’t help it. I have a whole-hearted, all-in kind of wiring, and that is amplified when it comes to my kids.
Thankfully, my husband is extremely level headed and isn’t affected by the constant up and down. He is able to see a bigger picture and keeps all of us grounded.
Are you someone who hops on the roller coaster for a wild ride with your child? Let me encourage you today to get off, as my husband did for me. Sometimes we know better, and board anyway. It’s times like these when we need our spouse or a really good friend to stop the ride and kick us off!
I, personally, need every one of these when I’m in difficult situations with my children. Perhaps you do too…
The next time your child is very emotional about a situation,
choose to get off the roller coaster. Employ at least one of the listed strategies.