You Can Stop Yelling Now

I yell. It is my knee jerk reaction to a whole host of feelings… blame it on my unconfirmed Mexican roots. But I don’t want to yell… especially at my children. I never yell in public or when other people are around- it only happens when it is just us at home. For some reason, as soon as I pull in the driveway this switch flips and the nice mama that was just out goes away. It is like all the effort that goes into being a gentle parent is exhausted and I just stop caring about anything other than whatever it is I am trying to get done. I yell to clean up messes, I yell when something spills… you get the picture. I yell wayyyyy too much.

Why do we yell? Frustration, anger, exhaustion, ignorance… those are my triggers. Yelling to me is like a drunken night out- sure it feels good to let those emotions out but then I am left feeling even more upset, guilty, and off kilter. What’s worse is that whatever I was yelling about is still there and positive has happened, I actually did more damage by raising my voice. Ugh! My girls know that sometimes I raise my voice to get a meaning across and I may not be mad- I am just frustrated. But it is still not good.

So I have been making a conscious effort to not yell. I stop and think about why I am getting mad or whatever in the first place- most of the time it is over something so silly. I remind myself that my hang ups are not my kids fault, I need to get over them and move on. I tell myself that these little ones are my guests and I need to treat them as such. Sure, some days I forget and I let circumstances take over my self control. But I am indeed working on it.

The biggest helper is a little word called “yes“. Saying that word stops upset emotions in its tracks, it derails protests, and brings peace to the home. Most questions get a yes now… Can we stay up? Can I play video games (for the next two hours)? Can I eat a cupcake for breakfast? Can I go to the library in a poodle costume? And if I do have to say no, it is given with a real reason- not the b.s. “because I said so” type of answer.This way my kids know that if I do say “no” it is because it is really important. And saying yes just feels really nice… everyone smiles and there is no escalating event that leads to me yelling (and then eventually swearing in Spanish). Try it sometime! It isn’t as scary as it sounds!

For me, it is far more important to have children who trust me and know that I am their friend and not the enemy than to have a spotless house and perfectly coiffed girls who have no opinions and do everything I say without question. What about you? Do you yell at your kids? Is it something you would like to change about how you parent?

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