When I woke up this morning, it was any other Sunday (with the exception of it being Father’s Day, but isn’t every day Father’s Day, really?). As I drank my coffee and made my morning rounds while nursing my baby, I came across a series of articles a friend had posted on Facebook. The focus was on controlling anger as a parent.
Many times in the past two and a half years, I’ve thought to myself, I didn’t know I was such an angry person. I’ve yelled and reacted in ways I didn’t know I could. I’ve felt angry and out of control more times than I can count. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never physically hurt my child and I never would, but he knows how to push my buttons in ways that I never knew possible.
Whenever my son and I have overlapping tantrums, I feel not just wrung out, but terrible. I end up beating myself up, telling myself that I’m a terrible mother, he deserves better, and maybe I was never meant to be a mother after all. These are not good days at my house.
So when I read “10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at my Kids,” it hit home. As I read the article and looked at the accompanying pictures, I saw the author’s boys wearing clothes my own son has. This just drove her message home all the more. I know I need to stop yelling–for me, for him, for his little brother.
And the thing is, in addition to making me feel like shit, yelling is totally ineffectual. It does nothing to alter my son’s behavior and it certainly doesn’t help to end his tantrums.
When Orange Rhino posted some of the sweet conversations she’s had with her kids as a result of her resolve to stop yelling, I wondered what my own son would say. At two years and nine months old, he still has very few words. He makes his point clear with gestures, signs and the words he does have, but it killed me to think about what must go through his mind when I’m losing my shit, yelling at him.
What kind of responses and words are trapped inside? Would he beg me to stop yelling? Would he just yell back? Does it matter?
The point is, when you yell at a kid who can’t talk, you are nothing but a bully.
So today started day one of my own Orange Rhino project. I don’t have my head fully wrapped around strategies just yet, but I plan to find ways to deal with my anger and STOP YELLING!
I’m happy to report that today was a complete success. My boy was a dream all day (mostly) and I didn’t yell once.
Tomorrow, I plan to map out some more specific tools to hold onto for times when I feel myself losing control.