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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It

Sister, my poor son has a devil of a temper--old-style irascible, this kid, and it gets the better of him all the time. Emotions just bubbling up everywhere all over the place. Now we have (along with appropriate disciplines) instructed him to ask his patron saint (Stephen) and guardian angel to pray for him, but are there any saints for a hot temper? Or perhaps better, one who was calm, collected and measured in all things? He needs some heavenly intervention.

It he left handed?  Just kidding.  That was an old nun joke.

St. Stephen, the patron saint for headache pain (as he died getting hit in the head with rocks), is a better patron saint for you than for your son, it seems to me.

I always recommend St. Peter for the hot headed.  He flew off the handle a lot, but he turned out all right. "Upon this rock I shall build My church", and all that.

Maybe you need St. Jude, the patron saint for impossible causes. Or St. Rita, for difficult cases.

Maybe you need to take a look at what's causing him to fly off the handle all the time. How old is he?  If he's two, I wouldn't be too concerned. But if he's 12 or older, I'd sit him down for a talk.  He needs some coping mechanisms.  I knew a lady that gave her son an egg when he was mad, and tell him to squeeze it til it broke.

Have you ever tried that?  You can't break an egg by squeezing it in your hand.  One of the wonders of God's creation.  If that didn't get him past his initial tantrum (this was a teenager), he was to take it outside and hurl it against a tree.  That will break it.  And his anger, apparently.

Anger, by the way, doesn't stem from hate.  It arises out of hurt. Anger is unaddressed hurt, physical or emotional. So the question isn't "what are you mad about?", it's "what's hurting you?".  You don't need to solve his problems. You just need to be compassionate.  "That must feel terrible" is a better response than "you'll feel better tomorrow".

To that end, I recommend St. Padre Pio, who had the ability to read souls. He'll be good for the whole family. Cool as a cucumber, that one.  He compared confession to dusting the furniture. It should be done once a week.  But every day, he believed, one should take a spiritual inventory. I think doing that would be a great help to your son.  He should take his spiritual temperature every day, and try to assess what he needs to clean and what he has already cleaned. And then take Padre Pio's most famous advice:

"Pray, Hope and Don't Worry"

St. Pio didn't have a easy time of it. He was very sick a lot of the time. He had the stigmata, which is not like some Jesus tattoo.  The wounds are the actual wounds of Christ and are painful accordingly. He had horrible fights with the devil that left him bruised.  So, I think his words, "Pray, Hope and Don't Worry" are particularly sobering.

Unless your son is two. Then really, really...don't worry.


Donna. W said...

Anger, by the way, doesn't stem from hate. It arises out of hurt. Anger is unaddressed hurt, physical or emotional. So the question isn't "what are you mad about?", it's "what's hurting you?".

Those words are so amazing that I shared them on Facebook. You can't believe the responses I got on it. I did give you credit.

Unknown said...

Love your answer sister! Can I add that although it sounds odd - look at your sons diet as well. Having gluten intolerance can cause emotional problems - easily loosing your temper included. It is a symptom that is "hidden" way down on lists under irritability. I know about a dozen children who are gluten intolerant and with every one of them irritability was their MAIN symptom. With my kids who are gluten intolerant - that is the first way I know that they have accidentally gotten some is because they will loose their temper easily over something. The GI symptoms are secondary. Just an idea to check into.

Tracy said...

It might also be good to check into glucose intolerance, it can also cause irritability and depression.