All Over but the Shouting

Alright, that title doesn’t REALLY make sense here, but I really liked it anyway.  🙂

I don’t want to yell at or around my kids, and it turns out that’s REALLY REALLY difficult.  I try.  I swear I try!  And I’m okay with sometimes when I just need to.  When I’m across the room and Lola does something that could potentially harm her brother, for instance, I’m okay with yelling then.  I don’t think my child will be scarred by some raised voices.  But overall, I’d really like to avoid yelling and harshness.

Sometimes I have a talk  with Brian about yelling at Lola too much.  I am aware while I’m doing it what a hypocrite I am; I yell at her too much too.  I mean, I try hard not to, and I’m pretty successful a lot of the time.  But anything more than very rare occasional yelling is more than I’m really okay with.  And when I hear it, as an outside observer, I am bothered by the harshness.  I don’t want us to be harsh with our kids.  And Brian especially has a tendency to get a little … yelly. 

I don’t really even want to yell AROUND my kids.  I am an emotional person.  I overreact to things.  I get loud sometimes.  I yell at my husband when he doesn’t deserve it (sorry, Baby!) and when he does (sorry about that too, actually.)  I want to stop that, especially in front of the kids, but I don’t know if I know how.  I mean, can I just make a decision not to do it, and then just not do it anymore?  It’s not a conscious thing sometimes.  I have been more aware of it lately, though, and I think that’s a good first step.  And now here I am sharing it with the world.  Maybe that will help to make me more accountable.

Then I start to think- is that ridiculous?  To be against yelling at or around your kids?  It’s certainly not a familiar stance to me.  And none of us are really worse for the wear.  So I get to wondering if maybe everyone’s thinking “what kind of weirdo, overly permissive, hippy parent says no yelling?”  But, I still want to be firm with my kids.  In fact, I could stand to be a little more firm.  Just without the yelling part.

And I also think- if someone yelled at me as much as people seem to think it’s okay to yell at kids, I think I’d feel like crap.  And you know, being young doesn’t preclude one from deserving respect.  And also, kids do frustrating stuff!  Little shits.  Some of it is sort of exploratory and to be expected.  Some of it is just downright naughty!  Most of it is just because they are not just shorter adults.  They’re still learning how to process information and frustration and emotions.  And we LOVE THEM!  So, maybe we could make sure that we practice a little patience, respect, and empathy with them the vast majority of the time.  I know that with Lola, just acknowledging her feelings can help shorten a meltdown, whereas reacting harshly just makes her feel unheard and makes her melt down more.  And sometimes nothing helps.  And sometimes she’s just being a brat.  But, she’s still entitled to her feelings, and yelling still doesn’t help.

And then there’s the obvious but often-overlooked side effect.  What does it teach your kids when you have a grownup meltdown when things don’t go your way?  Well…it teaches them to have a meltdown when things don’t go their way.  How would they learn otherwise?

I hope this post didn’t make it sound like there is all kinds of yelling going on around my house all the time.  There isn’t.  But there could be less.  There SHOULD be less.  And I’m going to make that a top priority starting now.  I’ll keep you guys posted.  🙂

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23 thoughts on “All Over but the Shouting

  1. That was a great post(as usual), and things that I have been thinking about lately as well. I know that if I got yelled at on a regular basis, I wouldn’t feel very good about myself.

    • I read this online a little while back, and try to keep it in mind:
      “Imagine with me for a moment…..

      You’re sitting down to take a break during your favorite TV show and I come in and turn the TV off. No TV, I tell you. It’s time for you to do the dishes.

      You don’t want to do the dishes but after 10 minutes of arguing about it, you comply. I hand you your cup of coffee. It’s black, with saccharine. You like cream and sugar. you are grumpy about the dishes and complain about the bad coffee. I tell you that you’ll drink this coffee or none. You feel like crying.

      You take the cup and pour it down the sink. I tell you to go sit down and do nothing. You do but you grab a magazine on the way. I snatch it away from you because last time you read a magazine you wrinkled it when you put it down. You’re not allowed to read magazines now!

      You start to cry. I yell at you and tell you how much you’re annoying me. You ask if I’ll do something fun with you. No, I say, I have important stuff to do. I put on some music that you don’t like and hand you knitting, which you hate.

      You start to complain.

      “Why can’t you ever be happy?” I ask you. I swear you must think up ways to torment me.

      It’s from a website called A Magical Childhood

  2. Thank you for admitting this! I feel the exact same ALL the time. Every night, I resolve to have less yelling in our house and then there is yelling again the next day. It’s so hard especially when you are trying to be heard over the high pitched yelling of little kids. I have been trying an opposite thing which seems to be working- the louder the kids get, the quieter I get, talking SUPER calmly and quietly with lots of eye contact. As for parents yelling at each other, that happens of course because we are spirited people but I think as long as the kids see an argument getting resolved, it’s mostly okay. They need to see that things are worked out. Ya, the yelling thing is really hard.

    • I find that the only thing that really works with Lola is to go right to her, get down to her level (or pick her up) and talk to her calmly but firmly. Otherwise she just tunes it out and I just yell more.

  3. Love your honestly in this post. I made a decision t cut out the yelling (well most of it) and the ‘smacking’ almost 6 months ago. I read 123 magic which helped to form my ideas into actual words on a page and have been going pretty well since then (although, it full disclosure, I do slip up from time to time, particularly with the yelling!) Good luck!!

      • I was wondering if some of your thoughts reflected that book.

        This was a great post.

        I don’t think I really do a lot of yelling, but I do a lot of “not hearing” and “not understanding” of emotions. That is the part I’m trying to do better about. Also, maybe I could do a little more yelling, or at least just be more firm.

  4. I loved 123 Magic when my kids (5, now 10-19)! I think a little yelling is good. If a child is never exposed to “loud” people then they have trouble in real life.
    My DH is a little more yelly than me but we have both gotten a LOT better. I agree that the harshness is more offensive than the sound level to me and that doesn’t necessarily mean yelling. I now have to get on my kids about their “tone” they use with their siblings.
    No, it never ends.

    • yes, when I say “yelling” I generally mean tone. I need to communicate that better, because sometimes I get on DH for yelling, and he’s all “I wan’t loud at all.” But to me, yelling is more about tone than volume. I’ll have to think of a better word.

  5. I am always going back and forth on this myself. I DON’T like how I sound when I have a harsh tone or yell at my son – I know it’s ugly and just escalates a bad situation into a worse one. I sometimes beat myself up about it, but then I also think… it’s not a terrible thing to let my kids know that parents are people too and that it’s okay to have negative emotions sometimes. It’s an ongoing thing… I think as long as you are aware and “working on it” you’re doing okay. 🙂

    • Yes — well said! I have been working on this lately, too. I have this ideal of a perfect parent who remains calm and collected and in control of her emotions, and I’ve found it’s just not realistic to expect that of myself all the time. It’s healthier to show that it’s normal and okay to get upset sometimes.

  6. Great post & dead on for me right now. Must be the midwest thing – I am a Yooper (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) and we claim the Packers NOT the Lions. ha Anywho – I came to this conclusion over the VERY long weekend. My husband was gone for 4 days and I was with a headstrong 3 yr old and 20 month old. I finally came to the conclusion late the last night as I was sitting in the recliner (bawling) going over how rotten of a mother I’ve become. And the bottom line, to me, is this: IT DOES NOT FEEL GOOD. Period. My husband and I are loud people, my dad was a “holler-er” and I too have become one. BUT…I am making a concious effort to stop and instead give one warning, and then the 3 yr old goes to his room for ” a break”. And I get a break, And don’t spank his ass. Most of the time! I have read the Love & Logic book for newborns – 6 yr olds (actually skimmed through) and I try to implement some of their concepts but wow! It is HARD to not yell. Knowing from my own childhood, you just learn to tune out the yelling and become immune to it, you know. So my challenge is to save the hollering for serious/dangerous situations and try the one warning rule. My son spent the better part of the past 2 days in his room but his is actually responding today to the one warning rule. So if I can stay consistent (??????!!!!) then maybe this just might work. Parenting can be brutal, People. And I have learned that we must, must, must stop being so hard on ourselves. Easier said than done though. Ok, I am rambling…. Thanks for listening.

    • This is what I’ve been trying to tell my husband. Give her a consequence for her misbehavior, and then FOLLOW THROUGH EVERY TIME. There doesn’t need to be yelling on TOP of punishment, that’s unnecessary. And yelling can’t be the ONLY punsihment, because that just flat doesnt work. Like you said, they tune it out. They learn that they can keep up whatever behavior as long as they can put up with the yelling. Clam, consistent consequences are my magic bullet.
      I tried Love and Logic also, and I like a lot of it, but I found it wasnt’ a good fit for my parenting style altogether. I just borrow SOME of it.
      Lastly- have you seen this post:
      http://stephicakes.com/2012/03/19/how-to-ruin-your-kid/

  7. Sometimes yelling seems to be the only way to get someone’s attention, especially easily distracted small children. Or hard of hearing fathers who refuse to get a hearing aid (which is my problem). Have you tried negative reinforcement (for you, not the kids)? Wear a rubber band and every time you find yourself yelling unnecessarily, snap it on your wrist. Painful, yes, but it just might make you more aware of when you’re yelling and why.

  8. I’ve been there. We normally have a quiet household, but Lane is going through this phase where he wants to wrestle with the dog, who is smaller than him, and I make this ah-ah noise that is loud and obnoxious (and my husband says its driving him nuts) but I feel like its the only way I can catch my toddler’s attention before he full-on mauls Blackie. My husband says I just need to spank our son, but I hate spanking, so I guess the dreaded ah-ah noise is here to stay.

    • I agree with you. I truly see absolutely no reason why anyone needs to resort to spanking. I think it’s really ineffective in addition to being cruel. I say, if what you’re doing works, it’s a winner!

  9. This post really has me thinking more about how much I yell at my daughter when she is being a handful or being a stinker. I’m always focused on not cussing, but I know I should try to get on her level instead. My daughter is 2 so I am having a reasonably hard time adjusting to the new being that is my child.

    • LOL, I need to focus more on not cussing as well! When Corbin spits up, Lola says “ah dammit.” I’m so ashamed!
      We hit the really hard part about 2 1/2 and by 3 1/2 she’s MUCH better already. Keep at it. Even when you don’t THINK things are working, if you’re putting in the work, it usually shows eventually. I try to remember that compassion is never a WRONG response.

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