Friday, October 22, 2010

Yelling "GOOD JOB"

I tell you the following in hopes that you will not judge me.  Rather, I'd love to hear your tips and secrets on how you manage.  I have to be honest about why I'm writing this post.  We have a lot going on in our household right now.  This, I'm able to coordinate and schedule, but one of the downsides is that I get snappy with my kids.    I came across a couple of other posts on blogs I follow that have related topics.

The first is how to stop yelling by Amy Wilson.  It chronicles a week that she tried to not yell at her kids.  At the end she identifies when/why she yells.  It made me think of when/why I yell.  I am often multitasking and tired.  Not giving my kids my whole attention puts us in the precarious position of yelling at any moment.  My kids are also very busy with their schedules.  This makes them tired and they tend to zone out and be unresponsive which makes me raise my voice to get their attention.  Why, when the phone rings do all of my children need my help and attention?  Why do they feel the need to show off when any visitor (adult or child) graces our doorstep?  Are they putting me in the position to yell, or is it me?

I realize from this blog post Unpacking praise by Chris White that my kids have been conditioned to not listen to me.  With the combination of raised voices to get their attention and praise for what they do, my kids don't hear me.  This makes me raise my voice more or even throw a "parent tantrum".  Neither of which is very helpful in modeling behavior of how I want my kids to behave.

#1 just asked me why I am on the computer or talking on the phone so much.  I guess I find it an escape. We've been smashed into funky living conditions for the last 4 months.  Normally a small house, we have even less space due to a much needed remodel.  I have nowhere to escape to, and probably use the computer as such.  It doesn't make it right.  Last year, I committed to myself that I would not go on the computer from when the kids got home from school to when they went to bed.  This was the right decision, but I fell off that train at some point.   I probably wasn't even on the train long enough to assess its benefits.  While I'm at it, I should go on an iPhone diet too.

I've already made #1 cry twice this week.  Yikes.  Even when I am not yelling, he hears me as yelling.  Saying, "I am not yelling" doesn't help.  It is probably in how I say whatever it is I'm saying.  Also, having 4 kids adds challenges.  To be heard, most of us talk over the others to get our point across.  The kids all want, need and deserve attention.  I'd love for it to be good attention that I give them.  They rely on each other a bit, but compete more than they support each other.

I've tried counting without emotion.  1-2-3.  Now I count backward from 5 to 1.  But, when I get to 1, what happens?  I yell consequences which are threats.  Oops, there's that emotion again.  I am pretty good with following through, but who's happy then?  No one.  Our communication should be more than consequences.  It should really be about connecting with each other and teaching through example.  I see how my kids treat each other and wonder if that is how they see me treat them?  I hope not.  Shouldn't emotion be involved?  Isn't that where compassion and empathy come from?  There are good emotions aren't there?

I am hoping it is not too late to recover from my mis-steps.  Now, if someone can just tell my hormones to stay out of the equation, we'd all be better off.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I love the honest and raw look you give us into life with 4 kids.
    I am sure that your capacity for self-reflection and commitment to repairs will serve them well in the real world.
    I wrote a series of posts on counting 1-2-3 in the spring of last year. I am sure you already read them, but for any of your readers they start at

    Thanks Lyra - keep em coming!