Your body is always sending you information about how you can take care of yourself. The trouble is, we often don’t learn how to interpret this information. This is akin to getting a letter written in a language you don’t speak.
For instance, when your teenage son fails to put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher–again–you might feel irritated. When he later leaves peanut butter spread on the counter–again–you might feel frustrated. And when he doesn’t put away the gallon of milk later on, you might feel downright resentful.
All of these little irritations have built up until your body feels wound up and ready to explode.
But if you knew how to read the feelings of irritation when they first showed up in your body, you would know that these are all your body’s way of telling you to enforce a boundary. It’s your body’s way of saying, “Your son is violating your boundaries and de-prioritizing your need for a clean kitchen, so it’s time to act.”
Instead of exploding, you would tell your son: “Listen, use of the kitchen at your whim is a privilege, and it comes with the responsibility of cleaning the kitchen after you use it. Since I am having to clean up after you when you make snacks between meals, I am going to have you clean up after me when I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next few days.”
Not only does this help you get your needs met, but it also gives your son information about what he can do to become a better “roommate.” Beyond that, it helps eliminate resentment, which in turns helps you have a better relationship with your son.
The conversation is the relationship.When you have good conversations with your kids, you have good relationships with your kids.
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