Honesty, Anger, and Emotional Honesty
It’s a natural part of being human to feel a tinge of trepidation when it comes to honesty and being honest, which stands to reason when you look at how people tend to lump anger together with honesty.
Many people (staff and kids alike) grew up in a home where honesty – particularly emotional honesty – only comes when someone gets angry. Not mildly irritated or frustrated, but “lose their crap” angry. If you were ever genuinely surprised by a piece of information uttered or blurted out during an argument, you know what I am talking about.
As a result of this, many people start to associate honesty with people being angry enough to be honest which, in turn, leads to the thought process of, “they’re being honest so they must be angry.”
When kids are dealing with an angry adult, lying, defensiveness and deflection are normal and natural strategies. Also, when adults are dealing with an angry authority figure, lying, defensiveness and deflection are normal and natural strategies.
Angry Adults… or Emotionally Honest Adults?
But what if the adult or authority figure isn’t angry? What if they are just being honest and emotionally honest with you?
Just because you’re accustomed to honesty and anger being tied together doesn’t mean that every honest person is also angry. That is your baggage that you are projecting and it is the same for kids.
To be truly successful with other people’s children, we have to actively teach kids when we are angry or just being honest. We have to do this with our words and we have to do it consistently and predictably with words thousands of times. Over and over…and over again.
If you have to get angry to get honest, you have some work to do. If you believe that anyone who is being honest must be angry, you have some work to do.
Emotional honesty must be practiced but also met with a reasonable response. It won’t change if we don’t talk about it and practice what we are preaching.
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