Tag Archives: anger

Why It’s Always The End Of The World For Your Child

In my house, the end of the world came around with a distressing regularity.

With three young dudes growing up in the same house, being ruled over by the meanest, most horrible dictator ever to put on a pair of pants and then jump up and down on poor, defenseless boys who only wanted so very little. . .

Those poor young dudes. It must have been like living in hell. Only, the thing of it is. . . I was there. It wasn’t hell for anyone. Anyone but an adult in the vicinity.

Hello!

You’ve all seen it. Even if you’re not a parent, you’ve seen it.Pulling an ugly face is a regular occurrence for little dudes during their toddler years. And beyond, if I'm being honest.

Something happens and suddenly the world ends for a young dudette, who starts screaming and yelling and crying and throwing herself onto the floor of the grocery store and acting like the end is not only nigh, but already here and wearing spiked heels to step on her.

On a (slightly) less histrionic level, I and probably most parents in the history of history have heard just about every single variation on the phrase, “This was the worst. Evar!”

I mean, seriously. If I hear that again, I just might be the one who screams.

So, yeah. We’ve all seen this sort of thing happen. Something minor rocks the little dude’s world and he reacts like someone tried to cut off his arm and beat his puppy to death with it. (Although that might be a bit of a harsh simile. Accurate, but still harsh.)

The big question (other than, “How do I stop this? Or, barring that, make a clean get away without being caught?) is why? Why do our little dudes and dudettes react so over the top?

The easiest answer is also the one about which we can do the least. They simply have no basis for comparison. When young dudes aren’t yet six or so, they are all about existing in the now.

If it already happened, it doesn’t matter. If it will happen in the future, it doesn’t matter. Right now. That’s all that matters.

Which means that, if a child doesn’t have something right now, at this very moment, it will never happen. They will forever be deprived, just like they have always been deprived of what they want. That’s a hard thing to face, especially for tiny humans who have so little experience.

Which leads us to a second reason. Being young, they have no basis for comparison. When little J’Amelia is mean to your daughter in school, it might be the worst day of her life so far. Really. She might not be exaggerating. Oh, she will experience worse (much, much worse) later in her life, but being young, she still hasn’t enjoyed all of life’s little jokes.

Young dudettes and dudes don’t have the life experience necessary to really make a good comparison between miseries. Stubbing her toe is bad and hurts, but they can’t ask themselves if it’s anywhere near as bad as that time they broke their arm. Or cut open their thumb. Or, really, anything.

Our ability to compare allows us to realize that it’s just pain and we’ve had worse, which allows us to calm down.

And, that’s another thing. We, as adults, are supposed to be rational, thinking beings. (I’m going to be nice and say most of us are, although, in my heart of hearts, I doubt it.) The brains of young kids don’t fully mature until they’re much, much older, say, around 25 or so for boys.

Unfortunately for the ears around them, their limbic system (which controls their emotions) is fully functioning, firing on all cylinders. Toddler brains become flooded with the hormones and neurotransmitters that cause pain and anger and sorrow and all the rest, but they don’t have the cognitive skill and experience to overcome that and regain control of themselves.

Looking back, I’m not sure I was able to offer much in the way of hope for struggling parents. Other than the obvious: This, too, shall pass.

And, though you doubt it in the midst of a truly epic meltdown, it will get better. All you have to do is stay relatively calm and help your little dude through his current issue.

It’s not personal. It’s just what and who they are at the moment. Keep showing good behavior, being a good role model and talking them through their experiences so they learn the right thing and . . . everything should be fine.

I’m going to do you younger parents a favor and not even bring up the teenage years here. Mostly because I’m a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and there’s some stuff up with which no one should put.

Share on Facebook

Playing God

The snake convulsively curled and uncurled around the mass of pulped organs that used to be its stomach.

It wasn’t a big snake, maybe a foot and a half long at most, which probably explains why it lost so badly when it went up against a car tire while trying to cross the road.

I found the snake at the end of the nose used by Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog, as he sniffed his way through his latest walk.

The snake didn’t look good at all. Most of its middle was smushed along one side, as if the car had only crushed one side of it as its massively heavy weight rolled over the small reptile.

My heart broke for the snake.

Yes, really.

I’ve always had these strangely timed bouts of empathy. Which goes a long way toward explaining the Incident Of The Flounder On The Floorboards.

See, I’d gone river fishing in St. Augustine with my Dad and a dude I’ve known since grade school, who I’ll call. . . um. . . John.

Anyway, we were pretty successful and managed to pull in a couple of pretty good eating fish. The prize of which collection had to be the A flounder is a fish with a bit of a mutation concerning its eyes. Because it is a bottom dweller, the flounder faces danger only coming from above so it evolved to have both of its eyes on the same side of its head so it can look up all the time.nice flounder I pulled off the bottom of the river and into our boat.

To keep the fish alive, we slid a twine into their mouths and then out their gills, effectively leashing them to the side of the boat, while still allowing them to breathe enough to survive. Eventually, we’d caught enough fish and headed on home. We put the string of fish on the floorboards in the car and headed out.

And I kept looking down at the Flounder and it kept staring up at me. With both eyes at the same time. Flounder are creepy that way. My heart broke for the flounder. So I took a wet towel and dropped it over the flounder, not to hide its face from me, but to give it enough water to keep it alive for a bit longer.

To keep it alive. I was trying to keep alive this fish that we were about to gut, then cut off its head and then fillet it before cooking it and eating it. No, I didn’t think it through all the way, that’s for sure.

All of which flashed through my brain when I stepped up next to the snake. There was no way the reptile was going to make it, especially considering that the midsection of its body was, essentially, glued to the cement by its own body gunk.

The only thing it could do was to die slowly, in agony, writhing on the hot cement of the roadway.

Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog, was bored. Since I wasn’t going to let him eat the snake, he had wandered off to sniff some bushes and maybe scent a few himself.

I stayed with the snake, lending it some of my shade, and thought about the flounder. Buzz tugged at the leash harder and harder, impatient to get going.

I picked up my foot, ready to turn and leave, when the flounder’s face flashed through my brain again. Good? Bad? Indifferent? Right? Wrong?

Did it matter in the face of a short lifetime’s worth of unending agony? My heart broke for the snake.

 

I slammed my foot down onto the road, crushing the snake’s skull.

Share on Facebook

Raw, Naked Desire

I must have you.

I don’t care what stands in my way. I will break down any wall. I will smash any window. I must have you.

No naked bodies, only raw, naked desire, stronger than sense, stronger than inhibition. The man must have that woman.

Consider that scene. Consider the legalities. The social niceties. All those things thrown to the wind in the face of raw, pulsing, surging lust. Watch that scene with any woman (or at least any woman I’ve ever seen it with) and she will tell you that this is one of the hottest movie scenes she’s ever seen.

What she might not tell you is that she’s envisioning herself as the Kathleen Turner character. She sees herself as that woman, the sight of whom is enough for a man to throw away his reputation and his sense, just to have a night with her.

This sort of desire is something most married or long-term couples seem to be living without.

Dan Savage, the sex therapist, says he thinks a little raw desire will win out over kindness and compassion and sensitivity almost every time.

People have to learn to compartmentalize. We all want to be objectified by the person we love at times. We all want to be with somebody who can flip the switch and see you as an object for an hour. Sometimes sex is an expression of anger or a struggle for power and dominance. They work in concert. People need to learn how to harness those impulses playfully in ways that are acceptable in equal relationships. 

A little of what I thin is going on is that the woman becomes excited when a dude does something like this because she sees his desire for her and it excites her that some dude needs her that badly. Turns out, I’m not just speaking out my hat this time.

I got a lot of that from a recent book called What Do Women Want: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner. These women, and I’m paraphrasing here, want consensual force.

By which I mean that these ladies want to be with a partner they trust and then they want to surrender control to that partner, allowing the partner to decide what, where, who, how, when and how rough. Again, this is what I’m taking from that book and that is backed by science, not just blathering.

I think all this relates back to yesterday’s post about the chores study (in which men who do traditionally female chores are seen as less manly and less desirable by the women with who they live) because of the stereotypical gender roles assigned by society.

Dudes, in this role, are take-charge guys. They are the ones who decide what happens when, where, with whom, etc. Sound familiar. Do manly chores, be seen as manly. Be seen as manly, stir up impulses of that consensual surrender.

Let me stress a couple of things. Firstly, this is consensual. I’m not suggesting it’s against anyone’s will. Secondly, I’m also not saying that a woman’s natural place is in a subordinate position.

A thinker named Pepper Schwartz says that while women may have always had these types of fantasies, now they have permission to give voice to them because of how much power they have in real life. “The more powerful you are in your marriage, and the more responsibility you have in other areas of your life, the more submission becomes sexy,” Schwartz says. “It’s like: ‘Let me lose all that responsibility for an hour. I’ve got plenty of it.’ It’s what you can afford once you don’t live a life of submission.”

Obviously, there is a lot more to be said about this. Probably why there are hundreds of books about the subject. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d really recommend What Do Women Want. It’s a great book, full of good information and very readable.

For a shorter read (only barely, though), I’d suggest the article from which I took a bit of direction and some quotes. It’s in the NY Times Magazine and by Lori Gottlieb,  a psychotherapist in Los Angeles. She is the author of “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. When I last checked, there were almost 1,000 comments on the article.

It’s definitely touching a nerve. Go give it a read. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.

Share on Facebook