If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard a version of this situation I could have retired a long time ago. “A student in my third period class shuts down, calls me ‘evil’, and yells at me – but then he sees me at the grocery store or walks into class another day, gives me a big smile and tells me I’m the best teacher ever. That’s not normal. Is it?” Actually, yes. Yes, it is.
Just like the weather our emotional states have highs and lows. When we experience anger, frustration, confusion, or embarrassment, feelings manifest through behaviors. Kids lash out initially, (I hate you) but once the dust settles, remorse and embarrassment usually kicks in ushering in more desired behaviors. (I love you)
Of course the younger a person is, the less experience he or she has riding this emotional roller coaster in a healthy way, so both positive and negative behaviors are amplified. Add in strong-willed personality types and inevitable teenage hormones and … you get the idea.
When individuals snap, remember that to some degree they are being hijacked by their emotional states. And usually it is the people they are closest to who experience the raw unedited version of their feelings. This doesn’t excuse their behaviors, but it should help us take things less personally. Just because our kids don’t always like us, doesn’t mean they don’t love us. Sometimes the best we can do is patient and ride the wave.