What to Do When They Bring F5 Emotions


Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Sometimes my morning starts off ugly, and it’s all my fault. I wake up cranky because I went to bed late.  And I went to bed late because I was reading People magazine. And I bought People magazine simply because Princess Kate’s sister, Pippa, was on the cover. {Since she is the future queen’s sister, reading about her is simply a matter of keeping up with current events.} Even though only 4 pages were dedicated to Pippa, I still read the whole blasted thing and learned nothing of importance except how I would like to be named Pippa myself.

Mama Pippa. Pippa Strong. I like it.

What I don’t like is when my cranky mood and a family member’s cranky mood mix and swirl together. Our spoken words and me-centered actions blend like different paint colors ’til a yucky brownish manure color splatters on everyone, even those who are behaving right as rain.

I’m thinking about this in the living room when my son comes down the stairs crying mad. This son does not seep emotion through tears often, so when he does I know he’s upset. I ask what’s wrong and the words tumble out about how the computer just up and wiped out his entire game, the game he’s spent his computer time of the last 3 weekends progressing.

My initial reaction is to say, “Really? Is this the end of the world? It’s a pretend game with pretend people doing pretend things. Why are you crying over ridiculousness?”

{And honestly, computer games get on my nerves, and I have lost my cool in regards to them a time or twenty.}

So, on this morning when I am praying to be a peacemaker, I’m thinking of Kat’s wise parenting advice I recently read:

When we respond poorly to our children’s emotions (with anger, frustration, rudeness, annoyance) it truly rocks their world. Our children need stability. They need to be able to process their vast emotions and NOT have us acting like a ping pong ball responding uncontrolled.

If I mix my frustration with his, we will find ourselves in the middle of a repelling manure-brown-mess. When these kiddos and their tornado of emotions come swirling in at F5 force, I hope to be more of a concrete safe room than a bamboo tiki hut. I want to provide a safe place for their messy little hearts {and tears} to spill over. When I remain calm and cool, I can be the steady wall they lean on for support, a safe place to share. But sometimes that’s hard, and sometimes I do this better than others.

So I’d love to know, what are some ways you’ve learned to batten down the hatches and keep your own emotions in check when your young’uns lose theirs?

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  1. Cheryl says

    Kristen, how true your words are and how unsuccessful I’ve been lately at not mixing my colors. Thanks for sharing what I’m supposed to do when a switch goes off in my boy and he’s raging. I don’t have to solve it, or know why he’s angry, I just have to be there like a big ‘ol bucket where he can dump it. Not that I’m going to let their emotions walk all over me, but when I know that the issue at hand is not something related to parenting, then I can be more forgiving.
    Love ya,

  2. says

    I loved this post, it is all so true. I try to stop myself, I literally will count to 10, either in my head or if need be out loud. When I do it out loud my kids know that I am getting to that point where I am about to mix my emotions with theirs.
    It is hard. But this was such a good reminder for me that while I may not always think their concern is a big deal, it is a big deal to them. Thank you for that.
    Heather (One Take On Life) recently posted..A Special Night out as a family