It's funny how on the one hand, we try and do things in a relaxed calm manner, whilst on the other, when we aren't trying, we react quickly and unfairly.
I've always been a fairly laid back kind of fella. I have no idea if others share my experience, but as I was growing up I would often think of what kind of parent I would someday become. Everytime I was shouted at or grumpy with my parents, I made a mental note not to make my children feel the same way, and yet here I am.
I always thought I would set my own rules and never forget what it is like to be a child. I would never say 'just because' when I didn't really have time to answer a question. I would always be there and encourage and support my kids. Most of all, I would never snap or shout at them just because I've had a bad day and they asked the wrong quesiton at the wrong time.
Well kids, you can make your rules, but there will always be times when things get the better of you.
I realise that my parents had these same rules, and that 99% of the time they followed them with the same kind of determination my dad showed when trying to light a barbeque. Never give up and put the effort in and you will be rewarded accordingly.
As a child though, it was very difficult enduring the very few 1% occasions, and as I look back on it, I realise that this was nothing to do with me, but just bad timing as my parents struggled with one of the million things parents have to deal with. Sometimes, there's more to life than making lego or buying the Beano. Providing sustenance, a roof, trying to better yourself and your career. Heaven forbid a parent looks after number one once in a while!
So here I am today, being the best Dad I can be, and yet still I have my 1% occasions. I think my children were sent to challenge me and they certainly do. They can ask wonderfully exquisite questions and make endless enquiries into life and beyond (or why when in in human form Ben Tennyson can still withstand massive physical alien attacks, yet his foes are easily vanquished at the flick of a wrist). They can also push you to your limits.
I suppose my point here is that we should feel guilty when we shout at our children, but not too guilty. Hmm, doesn't seem a very definitive conclusion to me.
Anyway, the point of this entry is that stress can come in all forms. At the moment, H is into his 3rd stubborn week of refusing to eat fruit. He never has eaten fruit (aside from a lick of apple once and a nibble of watermelon) and we have tried everything. But 3 weeks ago we took a stand. We refused him any sweets or treats, and bought him a big toy as incentive. Even now, sat above the TV, lies a 2 foot long Star Wars blaster gun, full electronic sounds and flashing lights and chosen by H himself.
Me: "You can have than when you eat some fruit".
H: "I will never eat fruit".
Me: "Then you won't ever get your gun"
And off he trots.
This child has a diamond will, a titanium strength determination to do what he wants.
Now, I know as a good parent, he should eat fruit, and I don't want you to think we don't give him anything, he has veg hidden in sauces and dinners, he eats carrots, he will even have the occasional innocent smoothie (the purple one), but fruit is the barrier that will not be crossed.
This causes both my wife and I to stress.
This blog is about L though, and what is really quite upsetting is that L doesn't like there to be any disturbance of the force in our house. So when wife and I are cajoling H again to eat some fruit L gets upset, and demands we stop. We threaten, we promise, we reward, all for H's benefit. We do explain to L as well why we are doing it but I can understand why when we are raising the roof in superhuman effort to get H to eat fruit, he finds it upsetting.
So with one person shouting at another and a third shouting to stop it all, sometimes I am in the 1%.