This became abundantly clear one day this past Winter. I was driving through the Mall parking lot in the pouring rain, and I didn’t see a woman running to the doors–she seemed to come out of nowhere. Nonetheless, I nearly hit her.
Well, she stormed off, turned around, and started cursing at me, calling me all sorts of names and wondering if I can ***** see! I responded calmly that I had made a mistake, but that it was uncalled for to speak to me that way. It was all I could do to contain my anger.
Unfortunately, what SHE didn’t see were my children in the backseat of my car–trembling with fear. The scene was so chaotic that even a stranger approached my car to comfort me and remind me that she was in the wrong.
It didn’t matter. The damage was done.
For the next few hours, my children asked question after question about what happened. Why was she so angry? Was I scared? What did I do wrong?
I thought the event was behind me…until the other day. I suggested we go to the Mall for lunch, and my children said they didn’t want to go. Which was strange. Turns out, they were concerned we would see that “lady” again and she would be angry.
I think we often forget the impact conflict has on children. If my children were that upset over a Mall rage incident, imagine the fear and confusion they feel when there’s conflict in the home.
They’re the littlest victims–but, also the most impressionable.