So often, even before something happens, we look ahead to how it might turn out in any given the situation. Then, there are the times something is happening in the very moment when we must make on the spot decisions that might help (or hinder) a current situation. We come to learn how to do this because of times we should have and didn’t!
When Joey is watching sports and his team is losing (we live in Cleveland…this happens quite a bit!) he can get very angry. It’s taken time to figure out what fuels that fire to get him going, but we’ve almost perfected the dance of when and how to distract him:
- With a change of the channel
- A snack to enjoy while we watch a play we think will make him erupt
- Engaging him in conversation
- Taking him to his room to watch a fun movie on his DVD player
Other times, we’ve come to realize that he gets very upset in certain situations that end in his anger, hitting us, or yelling. We think it’s when he might be embarrassed, but doesn’t know how to handle it. Some examples:
- Tripping on a step he didn’t notice
- Spilling a beverage
- Being asked to do something
- A gazillion other things….you can fill in YOUR blank!
We have learned in most of these situations that we need to engage him ahead of time. Sometimes that means telling him:
- There’s a step or curb coming
- Letting him put his hands on our shoulders so we can guide him
- Being silly instead of serious when he spills something
But recently, while driving Joey home from work, I saw an ambulance ahead. When the children were little we’d always pray as we passed one, but as he grew older, he would get mad – getting upset when “things aren’t right.” This moment qualifies, as do so many things in life! Knowing this situation can go either way – I needed to quickly decide if I should engage (or distract) him. But before I can even make this decision, he takes my hand and says, “Pray, Mom.”
We engaged. Life was good!