Some households are noisy and full of roughhousing. Others are quiet and easy going. If the your household has been aggressive for a long time it wears on everyone in the family and emotional temperatures flare. Individuals lose sight of how to regulate their emotions to a talking level even though outside the house they may know how to keep in control.
In my office, I always have a squishy ball for children to squeeze when their feelings are getting stirred up. I also encourage kids to stomp their feet when they're mad, with some optional noise-making, as well. Anger is an energy, one that can be better handled if we can shout or stomp through it!
Our exterior portrayal of calm and control is at the mercy of a neocortex that functions as a lighthouse, forever scanning the environment for safety. In the uncertain times we live in, from economic instability to the threat of terrorism and the uncertain fate of our planet, the signals we receive instigate our fears once too often.
With Christmas approaching, many parents are undoubtedly facing a familiar dilemma. Numerous adolescents will ask for the latest action oriented game in franchises such as Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed. Setting aside for a moment that many of these games, just like many movies, are made for and rated for adults, do these games actually harm minors? Are parents bad parents if they give in to their teens' Christmas requests?
I encourage adults to be mindful about their behavior in front of children. The aggression they witness can sometimes become a part of who they are later on. Families often seem to have some level of dysfunction, but it is the those who are mindful of the imprinting that takes place who have the best results!
I believe that if we make the effort to listen, we can hear our hearts guiding us. And if we think we can ignore its wisdom, we will lose our way. Eventually we have to face up to our past choices. But doing so gives us an opportunity to bring our love and compassion into the world by listening to our wise hearts.
In explaining differences in "masculine" and "feminine" styles of handling conflict, I show the strengths and limitations of both and avoid saying one is better than the other. Then along came some real-life conflicts -- one handled in the "feminine" way, the other in the "masculine" way. These situations showed me the strengths of one approach and the limitations of the other.