I have a confession. I yell at my kids a lot more than I want to or should. My Mom was a yeller. She was a cheerleader in the 50’s when cheerleaders weren’t scantily clad, insanely flexible gymnasts. Her voice was loud and booming, which is why she was probably the captain of her cheer squad.
Flash forward fifteen years, add four bratty kids born in six years and she probably thought her loud voice was an asset. I honestly can’t blame her, but I hated her yelling, and, I hate that I’m doing it to my kids.
I didn’t yell when my kids were babies, or toddlers, or even pre-schoolers. It didn’t start until my son started second grade. I had been careful to use a happy, positive, loving mommy voice when they were good and a stern but still supportive mommy voice when they were naughty. If I slipped up and yelled, I was mad at myself and vowed not to let it happen again. I was pretty good at turning things around.
As my kids grew older, they faced new challenges that I didn’t anticipate. As a result, their behavior became more complex, and, sadly, I was totally unprepared to deal. So, I yelled more, and I found ways to justify it in my mind.
He punched his little sister and thought I wasn’t looking. That surely deserves a, “What are you doing?!” She snuck a can of sprinkles into her bedroom, chugged it like she was shotgunning a beer, then tossed the sticky mess under her bed for me to clean up. That easily justifies, “You need to clean up this mess that you’ve made!”
Two weeks ago, we were in the mountains, skiing, having quality family time, interspersed with occasional melt-down moments. I needed a short family-time break, said I’ll catch you on the next run, and sat in the lodge, checking e-mail. I almost deleted an e-mail from a blog I follow, but something stopped me. The e-mail talked of a peaceful home life complete with smiling, happy, well-adjusted kids. I’m a skeptic so Ponzi scheme crossed my mind.
I was sorta desperate, so I signed up for the twelve-week online course with other peace-seeking parents. The course is based on the book, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and there are three main goals:
- Regulating your emotions
- Fostering connection with your kids
- Coaching your kids instead of controlling them
Wish me luck! I will be updating y’all from time to time on how it’s going–the challenges (getting my husband on board, changing my behavior, it’s a long list), the wins, what I’ve learned, and, hopefully, how those three things bring peace into my home. When I told a friend about it, she said peaceful parenting sounded boring. I’m about ready for boring right now.
For a Laugh: My kids love this video–goats yelling like humans.