Hank: I will never get this homework done. IT WILL TAKE ME TWO HOURS! AHAHAHAHAHAH#EHNFANAJKE! (stomping away, door slamming)
Avó Dalia: Eu não gosto quando ele faz essas birras. Fazem-me nervoso. (I do not like it when he has these tantrums. They make me nervous.)
Me: Todos os dias, Sogra. Ele tem uma birra todos os dias. Eu não sei o que estamos fazendo de errado. (Everyday, Mother-in-law. He has a tantrum everyday. I don’t know what we are doing wrong.)
Avó Dalia: (knowingly walking us to stand in front of his bedroom door) Mas ele não faz isso na escola ou na frente de seus amigos? (But he doesn’t do this at school or in front of his friends?)
Me: (loud enough for him to hear) Na escola não só comigo. Faz-me pensar que ele não gosta de mim. Como ele não tem respeito por mim. Talvez seja eu. Talvez eu deveria mover e sua vida será melhor. (At school no only with me. Makes me think he doesn’t like me. Like he has no respect for me. Maybe it is me. Maybe I should move and his life will be better.)
Hank: (bursting out the door) NO! (sobbing, Dalia walking away, leaving us alone)
Me: You don’t think I should move?
Hank: (from a hug) I want to live with you.
Me: I want to live with you, too but these tantrums are just over the top and how am I supposed to understand. Your Avó Dalia (grandmother) made a good observation that you do not have birras (tantrums) at school or with other people only with me and your Pai (dad).
Me: If living with me causes you to be upset and angry maybe I should leave.
Hank: NO. No. (pause) This is my problem I need to fix.
Me: Can I help you?
Hank: I need to calm down and do better.
Me: You sure?
Hank: Yes. I don’t need to get so upset.
Me: I bet you get so tired afterward.
Hank: I do. My whole face is tired and my body hurts.
Me: Sounds like you are allergic to tantrums.
Hank: Yes. I am better now. Can we start over?
Me: Sounds good to me.
(and the homework was done in under five minutes)