Vader can be an incredibly difficult person to be around. My son does the mot amazing things. He’s sweet. He asks people if they’re feeling better when they’ve been sick. He says he’s sorry. He loves to hug. He truly is an incredible little person. He’s also the dark lord of the Sith. Despite every amazing thing that he does, he literally drives me batty. Nutbar. Cuckoo. I’ve tried yelling, I’ve tried ignoring, I’ve held him, we’ve tried timeouts. Everything. Some things works here and there, sometimes for a few days, but when it comes down to it, nothing works for long…until recently. Like some sort of sociopathic care bear stare, I tried love. And it worked.
I decided that every single time Vader made me so angry that I wanted to absolutely snap, I would try something new. It has become a mantra. I can actually ASK Vader about it and he’ll say it back to me. What is this mantra? What do I say to Vader when I don’t want to be anywhere near him? “I love you more than anything in the world.”
Because I do. Anyone who is a parent understands this. Despite everything, you would lie down in traffic for them. Before I had kids I was talking to a friend that did and we were talking about love. He said that he loved his wife but that nothing compared to the love he felt for his children. I didn’t believe it at the time. I couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than I loved my wife. And then I had kids and I realized that it’s a whole different level. But despite all the love, there are times…oh there are times.
So I’ve decided that when Vader brings upon the Incredible Hulk level of rage, I’m gonna love it out. I get his attention. I ask him to listen to me. And then I tell him that I love him more than anything in the world. And I ask him if he wants a hug. It’s not complicated. It’s incredibly simple. And it generally works. The only “problem” is that you have the repeat it many times over in the course of a day but honestly, is telling your kid that you love them more than anything in the world REALLY that bad of an idea.
So the next time your miniature human takes you to DEFCON 1, take a second…breathe…and tell them that you love them.