It starts out like any normal trip to Rural King (Kroger, Target, Wal-Mart). Everyone in their seats. Three kids strapped in and ready with snack, toy, book, knitting project and/or necessary distraction. Should be a happy, quick trip.
Then it starts; slowly at first. Usually with a simple, “Stop looking at my book,” or “Please get your blanket off my lap.”
It soon escalates to an all out screaming nightmare in which one of the three is crying at the top of their lungs because the older one pinched him, while that one is yelling about how he didn’t do it, and the third is telling everyone to stop looking at her/touching her/spitting on her, etc!!!!
It is then, that in my infinite parental wisdom, I yell some incredibly intelligent statement like, “Will you please keep it down and stop yelling!!?? That is it! No one is to make a sound or touch anyone else for the rest of the day!!!”
You’ve been there, right? It’s not just me?
Well, it was during one of these moments recently that my husband looked at me and said, “You do realize that you are yelling at them about not yelling?!”
And it hit me. How are my kids supposed to know how to communicate and problem solve if the model I am giving them is yell first, ask questions later. I have told my kids and husband that I yell because nobody listens. And there are times when that’s true. My kids don’t seem to hear me until I am screaming and angry.
But lets be honest…how can anyone hear me when everything is coming at them full volume? How can they ever discern between what is truly an emergency do-it-now situation and what is just mom being mad?
And it doesn’t feel good to be the parent who looks like I have it all together in public (Where I almost never yell at my kids for fear of having them taken away by some well-meaning bystander) but behind-the-scenes I am really the mom who never seems to stop yelling. Something has to give.
Insert epiphany here. I read this blog post in which this brave mom details her life as a yeller, her plan for changing her ways and the ways of her kids, and the positive, amazing results she’s seen. Several things jump out at me.
1. I am not the only parent who feels this way and is worried about the impact I am having on my kids ability to communicate and deal with people.
2. There are lots of strategies for discipline and behavior management that don’t involve yelling.
3. I can have a different relationship with my kids and my husband.
So, I am stealing the Orange Rhino. I am trying this brilliant concept for the summer. No more yelling. No more going to bed feeling like the worst mom ever. Here’s to a quieter household and, hopefully, a more peaceful one.
I’ll keep you posted.