Saturday, January 15, 2005

Inducing cooperation while controlling Anger

I was emptying the dishwasher after the birthday party and I asked T to help put his cups and bowls away. This is not a chore that we have defined in our list of mandatory chores, but T normally helps. Not today. He totally ignored me.
That got me pretty riled, but L to the rescue. L had just come out of the other room. Hey babe, can you get your plates into the drawer?
She completely ignored me.
I had two ceramic bowls in my hand. In fury, I almost smashed them on the floor. The blood had rushed to my head and I was swamped with rage.
I noticed the anger and realized that this was not the person that I wanted to be. I do not want to be a guy who throws things around the house like a child. I also do not want to model that behavior for my children.
I took a deep breath and smiled. It was silly to get so angry over something so minor. But I realized that I had a lot adrenaline rushing through my system. I also know from experience that when I am in this type of mood, that I have to be careful not to lash out if something else minor comes up.
As I thought about how best to incorporate the dish washer into our house rules, L came by and and put all her dishes away. I gave her a big hug and a kiss when she finished.
Boy was I thankful that I had used some patience.

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