I really wish I had some chocolate right now.
Here's the thing, almost every time I really crave chocolate I should ask myself the following question, What's this really about?
Chocolate is one of my [less mature] coping mechanisms. In my vast 27 years of life I have accumulated several effective coping mechanisms. Chocolate is not the best, but it generally is my favorite when I'm stressed.
...And the reason I would love to resort to my favorite coping mechanism is because of the overuse of one of my son's only coping mechanisms.
S had a series of tantrums of epic proportion tonight. Like, epic. And the finale included "I just want to be out of this family right away!" Too bad kiddo, that's just not going to happen.
These tantrums started because I put avocado in the chicken salad. I know, I know...how could I?! If you lived here, you'd probably be packing your stuff after that kind of stunt from me.
Anyway, the tantrums ended with S going to bed early. After he had a some time to calm himself down, and I had some time to calm myself down...I went back up to his bedroom to talk to him about the series of unfortunate events (because I've learned that you can't reason with a hysterical child, no matter how solid your logic is).
Since S has eaten my offensive avocado chicken salad before on numerous occasions and loved it, I really didn't talk about the food thing at all. Instead I asked, "What's this really about?" Or, something close to that in 9-year-old speak.
We sorted through the excuses and got to what was really bothering him. We talked through it, and got him to a place where he was feeling a little less distressed. Don't worry, we also talked about the consequences of our actions when we choose to be disobedient and say hurtful things, and he knows that he is the one who chose the behavior that resulted in going to bed early and losing some privileges.
The point here is, I could get really offended that S won't eat what I make him for dinner, or I could get really hurt by his comment about leaving our family. But instead, after taking a few calming breaths, I decided to ask, "What's this really about?" Because, apparently we can't all have highly developed coping mechanisms like me...