I yell far too often. I try not to but when I get frustrated, look out. My mom was a yeller as a kid. It’s a learned habit that has always seemed normal to me. My children have learned to not move until they hear me yelling. How awful is that? That in turns makes me yell more as my frustration level rises. It’s a viscous cycle. One I resolved to work on this year. I don’t want my children to remember a mom who yelled all through their childhood.
I tried all the normal tricks. Count to 10. Take a deep breath. Blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard them all before. I won’t bore you with all those details. They are easy to google to find. Then it came to me. Actually God revealed it to me would be a more accurate description.
I had just finished my daily devotion and prayer time which I like to do right after I wake the children up. This gives me something to do while they are doing there morning stuff which makes it far less frustrating for me. Plus , it keeps them quiet for all that much longer which gives Michael another hour of sleep. Anyhow, I digress. Having just finished reading The Word and praying meant that I was calm and relaxed. It occurred to me as I sat there that Madison had not made an appearance yet that morning. This could only mean that she was still laying on her bed 30 minutes later. Since I was at the front of the house, I would either have to go to her to see what was up or yell from the living room for her to get moving. I could feel my frustration level rising quickly.
Part of trying not to be a yeller is to be cognizant of the triggers. Meaning you make a conscious decision to be more aware of what sets you off and try to not yell at those times. I knew if I went to her , I would yell. Seeing her still in bed would set me off to yelling at her to get up. I also knew that she couldn’t hear me from where I was unless I yelled. Both scenarios had me yelling. Not a great start to the day. That’s when it occurred to me that I could Facetime her. She got an Ipad mini for Christmas and I have an iPhone. Hello?????
That conversation went over much better than either yelling scenario. It was a 30 second conversation in which I discovered that she needed to take a shower but didn’t want to interrupt my Bible study. What could have been a terrible start to her day turned into an ordinary morning for her. One less morning for her to remember getting yelled at by me. Score!
Now I no longer yell from the front of the house to the back to get their attention. I either text or Facetime to bring them to me. Every child has an electronic device or smartphone ( only Logan has that). By telling them to come to me calmly, they know I am looking for something. If they were goofing off then it signals that they need to get back to work. It helps me to maintain my composure. I don’t start off the interaction yelling to get their attention then keep yelling throughout. Once you start yelling , it’s easier to keep yelling than to lower your volume to a more normal tone.
Don’t get my wrong here. I still yell . They still wait sometimes to move until my tone has reached a loud volume. But I yell less now. It’s still a work in progress for me. This has given me an opportunity to use something that we have anyway to make our lives a little better. It all boils down to it makes different memories for my children than me yelling at them. Mission accomplished.