By: Heather Patenaude
Often times, in the home, it’s one of the parents who controls the emotional atmosphere, and more often than not, it’s mom! As children get older one of the children can take the control of this by “acting out” or being the problem child. Therefore the whole family centers around this issues and the child has control of the emotional atmosphere.
The emotional atmosphere in the home is the feelings cultivated in the home, the comfort and security or lack of those things. It’s the unspoken tension. It’s the “walking on egg shells”. Or it’s the safe, cozy feelings one gets. It’s that “soft place to fall” or “hard ground to fall on”.
This climate is not something someone can see or feel if they don’t live in the home, at least most of the time. But it’s the way the family emotionally relates and feels when it’s just the family unit or someone close enough to the family that the “real” family comes out.
As a mom I’ve found that my emotional response or attitude effect the emotional atmosphere in our home. If I am upset, agitated, and annoyed, the boys (and John) are more likely to be short fused or agitated themselves.
There’s many ways we can control this temperature:
- By giving the silent treatment or cold shoulder. By refusing to talk about emotional issues that are effecting the family.
- By playing the “victim” role in many situations i.e.”Well, if I hadn’t experienced this.” or a “woe is me” type attitude.
- By being unpredictable in emotional outburst. When someone will explode the emotional temperature will also be edgy, just waiting for the next outburst.
- By being a bully with wanting your way. Throwing adult tantrums to make your mate or children do what you want.
- By huffing and sighing (oh I am so guilty of this one) when little things annoying you.
- By being passive aggressive in the home. “Oh I really don’t care where we eat.” Then complaining about the restaurant choice the entire time.
- By using our tears to get our way (I am all for crying, but not manipulative tears.)
- By making fun of each other, or picking on each other and allowing one child to pick on another child.
I also think that we can control the atmosphere in a positive way. Looking to cultivate an emotionally safe home, a place where the family can “let down their hair” and feel emotionally open and protected. A place where the Gospel is lived out! God’s love is unchanging, not based on the emotion of the day. When we create an unstable emotional atmosphere in our home, we are showing our kids that being ruled and directed by emotions is acceptable.
Now, before you think we have to become non-emotional to show the Gospel to our children, let me explain: God is a God of emotions, but truth not feelings should dictate our actions. Yes, we may feel frustrated or annoyed, but the truth is God has supplied what we need!
How do you think we control the emotional atmosphere in our homes?
HEATHER PATENAUDE is passionate about living a Christ-centered life. This passion flows over to being a wife to John and a homeschool mom to: Miles 8, Luke 7, and Clark 4. Heather is “doing” motherhood right along the side of most of you and hopes that she can encourage you to look beyond your “bath time” challenges and embrace the beautiful calling of motherhood!
(Picture from www.lsdev.biz)