I stood in the kitchen scolding my 9-year-old son. I wanted him to understand the times we were living in and the value of money. My lecture was accusatory and went on for several minutes. By my reaction, you would have thought he had embezzled money. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was actually lecturing him because he accidentally dropped his fork in the garbage can.
Once again, I had overreacted. I suspect most parents can relate to times like this. Parents overreact in the heat of the moment often, but when we do, we lose the possibility of having a teachable moment with our children. Here are 4 times most dads overreact.
1. Dads overreact when their kids bring home a bad grade.
Every dad wants his kids to do their best and earn good grades. Our society often focuses too much on earning a good grade and not enough on character development. Grades are important, but education is more about who they become in the process. If your children bring home a bad grade, it’s a good opportunity to coach them on how to improve and how to learn from their mistakes. Instead of losing your cool when your kids come home with a bad grade, use it as an opportunity to help them identify ways they can implement better study habits in that subject.
2. Dads overreact when their kids drop a pass or miss the ball.
Most dads are competitive and like to win. We need to remember that for children, sports are not just about their performance but more about their progress. For most children, organized sports will not be their future profession. Sports should be more about building character traits, such as teachability, resilience, and perseverance. In the end, it will be these traits that cause your children to be successful in the future. Instead of overreacting when your kids miss the ball, use it as an opportunity to help them focus on improvement and progress rather than perfection.We can replace stuff, but we only get one shot at raising our children.
3. Dads overreact when their kids break something.
If you live in a house with children, something is bound to get broken and many parents overreact. When something gets broken, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Most things are replaceable, and it’s not the end of the world. Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it was an accident. What’s more important is that our children see us react in a proper manner. It’s better for your children to see that you value their worth more than you do the broken thing. We can replace stuff, but we only get one shot at raising our children. Rather than getting upset when something gets broken, use it as an opportunity to show your children that you love them more than things.
4. Dads overreact when their kids leave toys or clothes lying around.
I can always tell when my youngest daughter is at home. She leaves a trail of shoes, socks, and clothes from the back door to the bedroom. For my wife and me, it’s a never-ending saga of reminding her to pick up her stuff. If I’m not careful, I can allow her disorganization and easily-distracted personality to cause me to overreact. When this happens, I have to remind myself that she is only 8 years old, and that is what most 8-year-olds do. At the end of the day, her wayward shoes are not going to have a direct effect on her future. Instead of constantly getting upset when your children leave their shoes at the door, you could give each of them their own space to put book bags and shoes in. If each has his or her own space to manage, you no longer have to worry about misplaced items.
Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Tips to Survive Angry Land.
Sound off: What are some other things that make parents overreact? How do you control your reactions?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “In what situations have you seen me overreact to something you did?”