There are kids who are prone to fits and outbursts and stubborn, whiny demands. And then there are angry kids. I don’t mean the ones who are budding sociopaths — we’re not dealing with them today and, anyway, budding sociopaths aren’t this loud. I mean the kids whose anger appears to come out of nowhere, is completely out of proportion with the actual matter, and flips the mood switch of everyone in the house to ensure every single member (heck, maybe even the neighbors) is on edge, a little scared, and miserable.
If you have or know one of these kids, you know what I’m talking about.
If you don’t, then you might be tempted to think the parents of such kids are spineless saps unwilling to “be the adult” and “set some limits, ” learn a little anger management and not let some little kid think she runs the world. Thing is, you’d be wrong. What makes me so sure? Not only do I have one of those kids, I was one of those kids (still am, just the wiser adult version).
KJ Dell’Antonia has an was one of those kids too. She writes about about herself and her daughter Lily in “Mad Girls” on Babble. Reading about Lily’s cold noodles meltdown and Dell’Antonia’s reaction would have been heartbreaking for me if it hadn’t been such a relief! You mean it’s not just me? Not just my daughter?
Dell’Antonia worries for her daughter’s future, worries that the girl will, like her mother, need decades to figure out how to keep her anger in check, to just let it go. But the girl is clearly in good hands. She’s raised by someone who understands — who has been there. Though no one grows to feel affectionate toward stubborn willfulness and loud, loud shrieks (the kid, yes, but not the shrieks), Dell’Antonia doesn’t reduce this to some kind of moral failing of her daughter’s. Whatever the anger is, it doesn’t call for out-sized punishment, shame and ridicule. It doesn’t mean a struggling child (or her struggling mother) is a bad person.
At least that’s what I have to tell myself.
Do you have or know a kid like this?
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