Heather T. Forbes, author of Beyond Consequences, describes a child kicking and screaming in a rage as a child who has been “emotionally hijacked”.
I’m here to say that being “emotionally hijacked” is not limited to our children. As parents, who has not experienced this intensity of feelings gone awry?
I spoke with a parent last week on the phone who called announcing that she was a total failure as a mother. She proceeded to describe her “meltdown” with her three and a half-year-old son earlier that day, after they had enjoyed what she thought was a full morning at home together.
We talked about what led up to the incident, how things might have gone differently, how she could approach her child now that things were cooled down with an apology for her reaction and a brief sharing of how they might work differently together next time.
What I wanted most to have this mom hear from me, however, was in a relationship, with our children, our partners, our husbands, our wives, our best friends, our parents, we are going to experience occasional emotional hijacks.
It is with our most intense relationships, the ones we care about the very most and are so heavily invested, that emotions run highest. When these emotions tailspin, they are a symptom, something telling us that we need to examine the stress in our lives, look for the reasons and make some adjustments.
But always, always, without ever abusing the privilege, rely on the relationship itself and allow the power of this intimacy to absorb an occasional blip on the ‘seismograph”.
Author Stephen Covey talks about an emotional bank account we build in our relationships with our children and others that we love. We are constantly making deposits into this account, growing it, maturing it, nurturing it with love and support. These deposits add up and so an occasional withdrawal from this emotional bank account can still hold your account, your relationship strong, loving and trustworthy.
So let’s all focus more on our deposits, building them, strengthening them and accept our occasional withdrawals.
To loving and caring! You can bank on it.
Keep in mind Family Resources’ Warm Line is there for anyone to call, anonymous if you wish, and talk to a parent educator about any question or concern you may have in your parenting journey. And as this mom did, share your feelings and receive the support and direction you may be seeking.
Warm lines are available 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Friday. Also, feel free to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with a question if these times do not work for you.