We’re scary when we’re scared

A lot of us get scary — when we’re scared.

I’m not talking about being scared of the dark — I’m talking about when things happen that we don’t know how to deal with.

For me, it’s when things don’t go the way I think they should, or when a child challenges my ideals.

My initial response can be to close down the conversation and say words that feel harsh.

I don’t yell or get in people’s faces, but that’s another way parents show they are scared.

Parenting is tricky like that — we’re often parenting from strong emotions, that we don’t really understand.

We can be triggered by how we were parented — our parents yelled at us when a certain thing happened, now when your kids do that same thing, it feels unsafe, but we really don’t know why.

We might not even agree with our own reaction — it’s just there, even if we don’t like it.

We can’t fix the way we react overnight, but there is something we can do.

Say: “I’m sorry, I love you, forgive me”.

This is a circuit breaker.

Those words – they fix today and change tomorrow.

If you want change — you have to change.

It starts, perhaps the same day, once you’ve calmed down — get beside them and have a conversation with your kid about what went wrong:

You talk about what they need to do different next time — also talk about how your reaction was wrong.

I’m sorry, I love you, forgive me — once those words are said, you’re both free to be less scared tomorrow.