Like me, you probably know them all too well...those subtle (or not so subtle!) comments, accusations or name calling that causes an instant reaction in us...Those are the hooks...
I can be pretty short tempered at times, I blame my red hair or being the youngest of 5 kids...but in reality, its just a plain old character flaw. But when my kids would fling an insult or get mouthy, it took a TRUCK LOAD of control for me to not launch myself at them. But, I found out pretty quickly in raising kids who came to my with some challenging histories, reacting poorly was like poking a dragon and it NEVER ended well!
In his book, Love & Respect in the Family, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs explains that it comes down to the fact that parents need respect while kids need love. That seemingly simple dynamic leads to a lot of tug-of-war as parents and children grapple to get their fundamental needs met.
Our need for respect and the frustration we feel when we encounter disrespect is perfectly natural but how we respond when we are stirred up is key to our sanity and quite frankly, peace in the home.
So, the first order of business in any interaction is to avoid getting hooked and falling into the trap of a bad reaction that escalates tension and leads to an argument, etc...
How do we avoid getting hooked?
Here are 3 simple strategies...
1. Ignore---Sounds simple enough, right? And yet...oh, so difficult. Its harder than it should be to COMPLETELY ignore. As in...say nothing. No eye rolls. No sighs. No grumbles. No banging stuff around.
Sounds a little more challenging,huh?
It is challenging, its VERY challenging. Why? Because we have been programmed to respond. From a very young age, we were told that it is rude to ignore people. And generally speaking, it is. But NOT when someone is trying to get a rise out of you. In that case, its just plain wise to ignore.
And why NO response what-so-ever...not even an eye roll or a sigh??? Because then they know they GOT YOU and they will use that hook against you again and again until they wear you out with it.
Believe me...I know :P
2.Walk away---Ok, here's another one we were told to never do...'Don't you walk away from me!' But I am officially giving you permission to ignore your parents rules and WALK AWAY!
The day I learned that I could walk away from my children's bad behavior or nasty mouth was the day the tides shifted in our home...it was MONUMENTAL!!!
As parents, we believe that we have to have the answers and engage our children, but we don't. We don't have to answer questions, explain things, tell them 'why', respond to their emotional upheaval, or give energy toward anything negative or unnecessary at all.
When I finally learned that my children were (at times) acting like emotional sponges sucking up my energy with their endless need for answers or emotional outbursts, I decided that if I stayed in the room with them they would never stop...so I learned to walk away.
I didn't want my 'walking away' to always have a negative impact, so I added a dramatic flair to it by throwing up my hands and running from the room yelling, "Aaaghhh, I can't take anymore!!!"-- which brought a good laugh but accomplished the same thing...a break!
After a cool down, it makes it so much easier to come back and connect in a positive way :)
3. Fake it til you make it---here's how...
If they 'got you' and you just can't ignore or walk away, gather all your emotional stability (or crazy) that you can muster and FAKE IT-
*Sing about how 'flippin' crazy you feel right now!
*Send a huge raspberry (tongue out of mouth while blowing) their way..add running toward them for extra drama!
*Start a wet rag fight!
*Stop-drop-and- roll like their words lit you on fire!
*Run out of the house like its an emergency!
*Make up your own form of crazy!
When we take their words and make fun of their affect on us by acting crazy, they completely lose their power over us!
I love this verse - "If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer." Proverbs 9:12
How do you avoid getting hooked? Share in the comments so you can encourage others in their journey. :)
All my love,