We have a communication problem. I'm a Dad and it seems he only likes that when it's of benefit. He rarely admits fault and just about chokes on the rare, rare occasion he might apologise. I try to allow for his individual character (2 other kids) and approach him in a manner designed to get results with minimum 'back up' attitude. It works sometimes but it nearly kills me. I get so sick and tired of having to tiptoe through the tulips. The other two get a fairly normal version of discussion without taking offence, with minimum ducking and weaving. The eldest can get ugly, with a mouth to match.
Yesterday I picked up said son from the train station. During the short trip home, a bit of small talk led me to remind him to go easy on our broadband downloads (biggest user). This time, despite rare and candid admissions a couple of weeks ago he decided to recant, accusing me of 'always telling him'. (Small stuff compared to the universe but an important family issue).
Somewhere inside my head, I heard a voice telling me to tread easily, back off, this is not the time. Somewhere inside his head, perhaps a voice saying *******. By the time we drove in the alarm bells were ringing loud and clear. I backed off, but not with grace.
That tore it. The bomb went off. I banged my hand onto the kitchen sink, marched into his room, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and told him to get outside, rain and all. His mouth was not on in this house, he can move out if that's how he wants to be. He had such a smirk on his face. He went, my wife stepped in soon after, and he came back in. Gradually things cooled.
Some readers might think nothing of this; others agree or disagree, be horrified. Well, for the record, I disagree with how I handled this, but that's how it went down and I can't change it. There was nothing physical, just frustration and anger. This father to son talk didn't go well. He didn't know it was the wrong day to test my limits and I have yet to master the quality of being a consistently patient Dad.
I later talked with my eldest, made it clear what was acceptable, and then apologised for my reaction, my less than perfect example of how to do things. He even apologised to me. That stunned me. It will take some days for me to digest this and be myself again. I'm sure it affects my son, but he doesn't give much away. It affects the whole family.
As I said to him, it's not about being right or about winning. I was being a Dad over family issues, trying to keep things fair. A quick turn of words changed the event entirely. It's happened before and will probably happen again. I'll bite my tongue harder if possible, but preferential treatment is wrong and unfair.
Anyone else have something similar? I've tried every which way but I think time will be the only big helper; that is, to mature. I'll keep plodding.
I'm right, but I was wrong.