Has this ever happened to you?
One of your kids is mad at their sibling. They’re so mad about what their sibling did that they won’t stop talking about it. They may be ranting in a loud voice and stomping around the house. You’ve offered that no one can make them mad. They choose to be mad.
And they just keep choosing to suffer and be mad.
Before you know it, you’re frustrated at your child. You’re so frustrated that you won’t stop fussing about it in your head and trying to convince them they don’t have to be mad.
Do you see it?
No one can frustrate you. You choose to be frustrated.
I’ve noticed that I choose to be frustrated and it definitely feels like my child is frustrating me when it happens, but it isn’t true. I feel frustrated because of sentences in my brain.
My brain thinks if my child stopped acting out on their anger then I wouldn’t have to be frustrated. It just wants me to feel better, but it doesn’t always get the “how to” part right.
As soon as I notice that I am doing the exact thing my child is doing–that thing I am complaining about, whether or not I do it out loud–that’s the moment when I get to decide whether I want to keep creating frustration for myself with my thoughts.
It’s also the moment I can summon a little more compassion for my angry kid so at least one of us can behave like an adult in charge of their own emotions.