Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Anger Management through HALO

I have a pretty bad temper.  I get red-in-the-face angry at some of the dumbest shit.  It really doesn’t take much to set me off.  Fortunately, my reaction to that anger is usually just brooding and simmering until I can get a handle on it.  But, sometimes it bursts out, and I raise my voice when I probably shouldn’t.  This happens mostly with my kids.  I find I have to apologize for yelling a lot (that being said, I get accused of “yelling” when I’m actually not, so I think they have a hand in this).

Anyways, my son gets me mad a lot.  He’s 6, and at the stage in childhood where he has no filter, and no “survival instinct” as my wife puts it.  So, he’ll respond to something I tell him with something infuriating, and I usually end up yelling at him for it.  It’s annoying because, first of all, I hate losing control.  But more importantly, I know what kind of damage that can do in the long run, and I am always worried that I’m not a good parent anyways.  So, yeah, stress levels rise.  It’s really a vicious cycle.

My son loves video games.  And he loves to play them HIS way, regardless of who he is playing with.  In Minecraft, he’ll get all bossy, and indignant of you do something against what he wants you to do, for example.

Lately we’ve been playing HALO Reach (got it for free through Xbox-Live a while back).  But he likes to play it on Firefight, where player 2 is defaulted as a lone Spartan, and player 1 can either join the Spartan side, so there’s two, or he can join the Covenant.  The scenario is basically a Last Stand, where the Spartan side has to fend off wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies.  He likes to be the Covenant.

Last night, I felt the anger boiling, since he kept camping me.  And since his temper is equal to mine, he kept getting angry when I would kill him (usually with a shotgun to the face).  But, instead of yelling, I decided to just make jokes about it, and compliment him on his kills.  And suddenly, it was fun.  And when I shot him, he would initially have the “gamer rage” reaction of insisting that he got me first (when clearly he hadn’t, since he was the dead one).  But then we would laugh, and he’d come back and come after me again.

It was a very succinct reminder that my kids learn from the behavior I model.  It’s common sense, and every parent knows this already.  But, sometimes I need a little refresher.  So, I’m trying to wrangle my temper with humor and compassion.  Just like every “expert” says to do.  It seems to work with my son.

Now, if I could get the 12-year old girl to drop her attitude…I think I’ll leave that one to mom.


bowiefan said...

Oh yeah because I'm SO good at parenting the 12 Year Old...

Charles Gramlich said...

My first wife and I used to argue about the fact that I showed infinitely more patience with him than I did with her. She demanded one time to know why. I said, "because he's four."

Charles Gramlich said...

In other words, maybe I was a better father than a husband.