Swati was driving home from work. She called her teenage son Kunal and told him to clean his room and finish his homework. Before he grunts a response and hangs up, she could hear the computer game blaring in the background. She feels her stress levels rising and thinks, “I know the house is going to be a mess when I get home. Kunal would not have done his homework. I am willing to bet he’ll be playing computer games.”
Sure enough, when she walks through the door, the scene is exactly how she had pictured it. She was now steaming mad. The fighting starts immediately.
Is this your story too?
No matter how your child acts, he does not control how you behave.
Have you gotten into a pattern where you’re arguing with your child all the time? Understand, that if you’re already geared up and braced for a fight, you’ll probably get one. Learn to recognize when you have this type of anxious expectation. You might say, “Well, I expect it because my child always acts like that.”
For example, I expect my daughter to give me a hard time in the evening. When I walk in the door and she doesn’t say hello, I react to her from my anxious expectations and assume that she’s rude or disrespectful. And because I have this expectation, I don’t stop in the moment and objectively look at the situation. I react to her as if she’s disrespectful. She gets upset for being misunderstood and now I get just what I expected: a fight with my child.
You always look at, “Am I contributing to a negative behavior that I see?”