Tag Archive for: anger in parenting

What Can I do When Dad is Out-of-Control?

It has been amazing to me the number of women who have shared stories of out-of-control behavior from their spouses.  Their teen does something to upset dad and the war is on.

It makes me sad.

And I’m betting that if you are in that situation in your home, then your feelings are even more heavy than mine.  I’m so sorry for what you are going through.

Most women in these situations ask me what they can do to ease the strife and reduce the fear that plagues their home.  

These women love their husbands.  They know that they are good men.  It’s in the heat of the moment that something breaks inside these men.  They use their physical stance or words to show their power.  Thankfully the women I’ve spoken to haven’t experienced physical abuse in their homes, but they are fearful of what might happen someday.

These women also love their children.  They want to make sure they are protecting them even though now the kids tower over them in stature at times.  Most of them worry about the affect these outbursts will have on their kids in the future.  Will they see out-of-control behavior as something that is acceptable?  Are they harboring anger and resentment that will keep them from returning home once they have the ability to move out?  Will the behavior replicate itself when they become parents?

So here are a few things that I share with women.  I’ve had several women tell me it has made a huge difference in their homes.  Others, not so much.  But either way, if you are a mom wanting to calm the wars between your husband and your teens, here’s a place to start.

  1. Pick a time when there is no strife and ask your husband’s permission to talk with him about a problem you are concerned with.
  2. Create a safe environment for him by letting him know what a great husband and dad he is.
  3. Let him know that you know he loves his kids and wants the best for them.
  4. Share your concerns in a non-threatening way.
  5. Try to get agreement on how the two of you can handle these outbursts in the future.

The conversation might go something like this:  “Honey, I know that you want to be a good dad and want relationship with the kids even after they leave our home.  One of the things I’m concerned about is when things like what happened the other night take place.  I know that you don’t mean to get so upset and I’m sure you probably regret it.  Can we talk about what you might be feeling during those moments? I wonder if there might be something I could do to help you during those interchanges?  I love you and want us to have great relationships with our kids.”

Obviously this is a simplified version of how the conversation might go–but I want to encourage you to step into the middle of what could be conflict.  Our kids are precious and worth the conversation, even if it goes poorly.

I would also like to encourage you to talk with your teens.  Let them share their feelings and struggle with you when these situations occur.  Strategize together on things they might try to de-escalate the situation. Perhaps you encourage them to have a similar dialogue like the one above with their dad.  If that isn’t safe, maybe you have the conversation first with your husband and encourage him to sit down with you and your teen to talk through the issues while you coach both of them in the conversation.

Another thing you might consider is asking your spouse to go to counseling or talk to someone at church about how to handle his emotion.  More times than not, these episodes stem from anger in other situations that have not been adequately resolved sometimes from childhood.

Ephesians 6:13-15

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

One of our roles as moms is to be relationship architects such that our home is a sanctuary of peace for our family.  Sometimes that means respectfully engaging in conflict so that others will understand appropriate boundaries and work on their issues.

Prayers to you who are engaged in the battle for your kids when dad is out-of-control.  And don’t be afraid to protect your children if  communication escalates the issues.

“Let go…and let God”,

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If you want to resolve conflict in your home, I would encourage you to check out With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens & Tweens.  In it, we talk about things that help parents learn preemptive conflict resolution skills.  I’d love to walk beside you in our eCourse that goes along with the book.  If you need to talk, email me at debbiehitchcock@gettingperspective.com

 

 

DARE 12 – The Respect Dare – They Still Need Me? – For Parents of 20-Somethings

Sitting on the back patio in the early morning savoring the spring sunshine and cup of coffee, Sally was still in her PJ’s. Their backyard was private enough that she loved going out there to spend quiet time with God. Her teens were already at school and Alex, her twenty-three year old son was at work. As she sat their contemplating Alex’s recent announcement that he would be moving out next month, Sally’s heart sang. Not that he was moving out, mind you, but that the year had been a success.

Shortly after graduation from college, Alex had announced that he had landed an awesome job nearby. “Would you mind if I live with you guys for a year to get my finances in order and pay down my student loans?” he asked.

Jeff and Sally were feeling good that their son was even willing to consider moving back in with them after being on his own for four years. “Alex, of course you can move back home!”

As the day drew closer for graduation, Sally decided to give Alex a call. “Son, you know that we love you and are happy to help you get on your feet financially this year. We just want to make a couple of things clear before you move all your stuff in. You know that we still have your younger brother living at home. I know you are now an adult, but for this to be successful we are going to need you to abide by the same rules that existed while you were living here in high school. We will expect you to be home at a reasonable hour and we will still want you to let us know when you are going somewhere and when you expect to be back.”

“Mom, I’m going to be working. That shouldn’t be a problem at all.”

“Alex, this is for one year. At that point, we’ll reassess. One more thing,” she paused. “You know that your dad and I love you with all our heart. I want this to be a good year. It isn’t going to be easy for us to have you back home and it isn’t going to be easy for you to live with the rules that you’ve had freedom from for four years. Can we agree that if you have a problem with something we’re doing, you’ll talk to us about it? The same goes for us. Our goal is that you won’t leave anxious for freedom again. Our goal is that when you leave here in a year, we’ll be good friends.”

“Mom, it will be fine. It will work. I promise.”

As Sally continued to enjoy her coffee, she smiled at what the year had meant to her and Jeff. They really were best friends with …

Just then her cell phone rang. “Mom, I need your help!” It was Alex. “I’ve done something really stupid and I need you to come get me at work.”

“Okay, let me get a shower and I’ll be there shortly. Maybe we can do lunch?”

“No, Mom, you don’t understand! I need you to get dressed and come get me now! You need to drive me to a client’s office and drive me back to work. I took the bus today, so my car is sitting at the park-n-ride. I’m sorry to take you away from whatever you are doing today, but this is serious. Please just come!”

Sally quickly sat her cup in the sink and was dressed and out the door within minutes.

The longer she was in the car for the 45 minute drive, the more upset she became. How dare her son think that whatever he was dealing with was more important than her day? No shower, no makeup, and she was driving to go solve whatever her 23 year old son had messed up! She needed to let him know that she couldn’t just drop everything for him. She had a life too.

As her angry thoughts took hold, she knew she was going to let him verbally have it! This is ridiculous! He’s 23 for heaven’s sake. It’s time to handle your own problems!

Just then the words from a couple of Daughters of Sarah scriptures took hold.

Ephesians 4:29

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

James 1:19

…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

“Okay, Lord. I hear you,” she breathed. “Just listen. My job is to listen. This isn’t about me. I need to forget that he is my son and that I’m his mother. This is a friend who needs my help. I’m being the feet of Jesus to Him like I would any of my other friends.”

The more she prayed for Alex, not having any clue why she was actually going to pick him up, it dawned on her. “It must be a desperate situation for a 23 year old to feel the need to call his mother to come get him. That had to be really humiliating.”

“Respect! That’s it! I need to respect that he is a friend in need and not grill him on what he messed up this time.”

As parents, when our adult children need our help, we need to remember that most likely it is difficult for them to ask for our help. Our job is to listen and be available. It isn’t about them taking advantage of our generosity, sometimes it about us just being their friend.

“Let go…and let God”,


Be sure to join Nina Roesner and Leah Heffner and they blog with me through The Respect Dare.