Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I do not like this one so well, all he does is yell, yell, yell

Why am I always yelling?

I am yelling all the time. I am on edge. It starts out like this: I ask one of the kids to do something. I get back a creative response. I reword my request. I get back another creative response. I yell back: just do it! Now! As my 2 yo adds, I told you forty times! As soon as she says those words, mirroring my response, I am filled with shame. I resolve not to say that again.

Then, we are back in the same situation, I ask, get ignored, ask again, get brushed aside, and the yelling cycle continues.

I am always jolted when I hear someone else yell at their kids, especially when the yelling is utterly disproportionate to the "crime" committed. I find myself defending the kids when my husband yells at them. I reason, since we are the primary role models of behavior, the longer we keep yelling to get things accomplished, the higher are the chances that kids will communicate to each other through yelling.

Yes, I have read " How to Talk so Kids Will Listen". I need "How to Talk to Future Lawyers".

And I am repeating a pattern from my childhood. Our house officially was the house where we don't yell. Except when we do. When we are tired, or angry, or had a bad day, or are trying to get a point across. The difficulty of growing up when the policy disagrees with reality grated harshly on me. At least I am not pretending that I do not yell.

Either way, this yelling is ugly. Do I demand too much? Do I demand immediate obedience instead of giving them time and space to carry out my request? Do I regiment too much, which requires constant guidance and compliance?

In the summer, when we had no official school, there was much less yelling. So higher expectations definitely come to play.

Tonight, after we got through our day, and 2 yo finally went down, 8yo asked to stay up. He said that he would do any chore with me, to stay up. I thought about getting to their closet, finding out what fits and what doesn't. Then I decided that we won't do that. Instead, the boys turned on Yanni and did some dancing in the kitchen while I cleaned up and made soup. They were happy. They were breaking some unspoken bedtime rule, and I was not yelling. When I finally tucked them in, a whopping half an hour after their bedtime, they went willingly. There was goodwill in the air. It was relaxed. It was sweet. And there was no yelling, no fighting, no anger.

I cannot routinely allow them to break the rules, and I cannot allow them to ignore me for the sake of peace and quiet, but I need to find more ways to be flexible enough that this peace can come back more often and stay.

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