The Ginger Menace certainly lived up to his reputation this summer. Labour Day weekend he was mad at me because I would not let him put Pokemon Go on my phone (cringe). I made a well thought out argument and remained firm.  I thought the conversation was over and I took out the garbage.  When I came back up the stairs and turned the door handle…locked. Damn. I was about to become that parent.

Nobody wants to be that parent. The parent who has lost all sense of hope and is engaging in a screaming match with their offspring in a mini-mall parking lot. I still cringe when I see a mom or dad in tears of frustration and I catch myself saying, “why don’t they just…,” but what? I have been there and not known what the hell to do myself.

The best of us crack under the monumental responsibility of raising a child. Even when your child is able to have an intelligent conversation, it is actually easy to forget that kid-logic is not grown-up logic and you become like the wall of a dam that your child is washing with unreasonable or impossible demands. During a stalemate I will say I am very ____ right now, so I need a few moments to meditate before we continue this discussion. And I do. I shut the door between us. I put on music, I breathe, and release, and chant, and oddly enough he comes up with a solution on his own. However that was Zen, and this was now.

There are two choices in this case, and it is not just giving in or staying firm. One is maintain a steady supply of patience and detachment through the interaction. Two is, because your nerves are so frayed you explode like a dam, take everything they say personally and scream back with an equal to increased level of anger. I chose option two. I screamed and pounded on the windowless door for him to let me in. I heard him yelling, but the lock remained closed. I marched in my bare feet and pyjamas down the side of the house to the backdoor. Locked. So. I screamed and yelled again. At that point I wanted the neighbours to hear so they had an inkling of my predicament. His little ginger self came to the door and opened it.

“No more new games. No Pokemon Go it is Pokemon Never. Never ever.” Safely. Respect. Trust. I laid it all out. And when I asked why he did it he said, “Mommy, I needed some space from you.”

I was so mad I grabbed my cold tea, walked back out the door (with a spare key), sat in the backyard and called almost all of his grandparents. Taking myself out of the equation works, if there is no dam to slap, it renders acting out pointless. When I allowed him to come see me, he was immediately repentant, but I reminded him wanting space is absolutely fine, but you have to use words, and you don’t lock your mother out of the house.

We all blow up. It is unbearably human, but when a small human loses it, all sense of reason is gone, and no one wins until the emotion has passed. So the moral of the story is, when you’re a crumbling wall it is okay, more than okay it is unavoidable. So know that it will pass, pick yourself up, and make sure to have a hide-a-key.

About the Author

Kelly Wilk is a freelance writer and single mom to a six-year-old, red-headed, Irish, Aries boy who is growing up way too fast. Follow them on PinkPlayMags’ parenting blog “The Ginger Gent” (www.pinkplaymags.com). Also, find Kelly on her own website and blog, Brave. Creative. Me at www.kellywilk.ca.