While I thought I would have made more headway with this, it seems I am stuck in the cycle yet again. This time, however, I know part of it is due to my needing to let go. I need to do less for and expect more from my kids. We also have a big change going on, which always throws everyone off, especially kids with certain childhood traumas.
So I breathe, walk away, catch their eye, otherwise engage their hands, or whatever else I happen to rationally think of in those times to keep me from yelling. Then I give myself grace, and ask for forgives if needed.
It has also helped to have another adult in the house again to back me up. It is good to know that it is not just me, the kids really are being stinkers and need to change their attitudes, too. Once again I am in awe of and have empathy for single parents.
Okay, time for me to share something I’m not really proud of – I’ve found myself in the habit of yelling at the kids. It isn’t like I curse at them or tell them how horrible they are. What happens is that I find myself raising my voice out of impatience and using more Put Downs than Put Ups. I love that last term Alissa uses in her post, “Getting out of the yelling cycle“.
Before kids, I always thought I was a very patient person,that nothing could rock my boat. Arguing was never something I did. I was the “good” kid in the family, shining my halo daily and never disobeying my parents.
Yes, there was a bit of pride involved.
I could never understand the mom who lost her patience with her little one while shopping, or at the playground yelling for them to “get in the car or else.”
Over the past few years I’ve slowly had my patience tested. Constantly. At high volumes of speech. As time has gone on, my tolerance with the kids (not my husband, interestingly enough) has gotten shorter and shorter, and I have found that indeed my boat can be rocked. This seems sort of counter intuitive as life is actually easier now than it was a few years ago. So why do I get so annoyed, impatient, prone to raise my voice quicker than I used to?
I’ve analyzed many times at to why I reach the point of yelling, and I can tell you usually what leads me there. Here are a few:
- Having to repeat myself over and over because a child chooses not to listen the first 3 times
- Being asked “Why?” over and over from kids who really don’t actually want to know and don’t listen to the answer
- Constant disobedience of rules that haven’t changed. Ever. Yet the child can’t seem to remember the rule after YEARS of it being in place
- Flat out being ignored when I say something
- The starting and stopping of each sentence with Mom – ex: “Mom, can I have a drink, Mom?”, “Mom, I don’t want to, Mom.”, “Mom, look at this, Mom.”
- Guilt from playing the “I Should” game in my head.
After analyzing these reasons, yet again, I find myself asking, “Well, why don’t you work on stopping these triggers? What are YOU doing to enable them to continue happening?”
- I willingly repeat myself 3 times, rather than just saying something 1 time slowly and clearly.
- Asking them if they really want to know why, or asking them what they think the reason is. This is especially true when I say, “Go put on your shoes so we can go to the grocery.” Then the reply I get is, “Why? Where are we going?”
- Consistent follow through. The reason they keep trying is because sometimes it is a coin flip as to whether they will get away with breaking the rule.
- Making sure I am in front of the child, talking at eye level, then saying things one time and following through with consequences
- …not sure about the constant repeating of my name. Any ideas?
- Take a deep breath, and remember that God is in control. Also repeat Psalm 19:14, yet again. (Just to clarify, this had nothing to do with yesterday’s post.)
So, I just wanted to say “Thank you, Alissa, for the great reminder that we can change, that I’m not the only one struggling with this.” Also, “Thank you for not just talking about it, but giving a possible solution. Even if this doesn’t work for me, you definitely got me thinking of other alternatives.”