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We behave worse for the people we love the most.  That is a sad fact but true.  Your teenager tries to be nice all day to people and teachers that they do not like and then come home and blow up at you.  And thank goodness there is a place where we can let it out.  If they can’t let it out at home or with others, then they load up a gun and go to school.  We are the release valve for the pressure cooker.   So bear with it when they are ill tempered.  Our ability to keep calm in a heated confrontation gets better every 10 years.  Have you ever seen a 20 year old at your work get all upset about something and you are saying “Chill and lets see how to work this out.”?  That is why we elect the president of the United States a 50 yr old gomer that does not get ticked off some day and push the button.  So 20 yr olds can’t stay calm and for sure teens and 6 year olds can’t. 

 Actually we adults do the same.  You would not talk to your friends or co-workers the way you do your spouse.  If you did they would not talk to you again.   So we let it out at home on our spouse and hopefully not our children.  And that causes some divorces.  “My wife is such a gripe and that lady at work is so nice.”   So we divorce one and marry the other and guess what… same thing.  We behave worse for the ones we love the most.  It is because we have to let out the frustrations somewhere and our family will tolerate it.  They love us, understand us, and are stuck with us…. kind of.  Notice how you treat other children better than you do your own…. how you treat other women/men better than your wife/husband?  So your kids get upset and yell because they are trying to learn to be calm in a heated discussion.  We shouldn’t yell back at them because we are not setting a good example and are lowering ourselves to their level. 

 Lets all try to be nicer to our family members and treat our kids and spouses more like we do our friends and co-workers.  Try to discipline your children like you would correct a co-worker.  Use a firm and “I-mean-it” tone but not hateful tone.  If your boss is hateful to you, you would actually slow down or make more mistakes just to get back at him.  That is why when you really ball out your kids harshly they sometimes get worse. 

 Hang in there! …. All this parenting will yield a wonderful child in 20 years and yes it is worth it.

Dr. Knapp