The picture is a bit over the top, I don’t ever get that angry but it was hard to properly convey the emotion without going to the extreme end of the spectrum. I am mostly a content person, I promise. However, I am on a personal quest not to shout so much at my kids. I find myself being super zen, nothing can trouble me, throw as much as you want, don’t eat your dinner, refuse to get your nappy changed, don’t brush your teeth, when they fall out, see if I care and I’m cool. Then the littlest thing triggers “The Shout!” I always feel like I’ve let myself down after because I know there is a better way to show them that they were wrong. If only I could keep the volume down for a few minutes more, the incident probably would have passed with no need to shout at all.
Now when it comes to discipline when I was young, I think all I need to say is that my mum is Jamaican and my dad is Nigerian…luckily for me, I was a pretty good kid. However, I decided from a young age, when it came to dealing with kids being naughty, I would always choose another way.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s necessary to raise your voice, especially with such vibrant and loud children like I have. They make so much noise at times and it’s just a struggle to be heard above the din. Sometimes you’ve tried to get your point across in so many ways that the only option left is to get louder, then maybe they’ll hear and take heed. Sometimes it works and sometimes they act like I’m just an annoying little fly buzzing in their space. They also have this infuriating habit of trying to put themselves into dangerous situations and you shout to put across the point of how reckless they’re being. Acceptable shouting example.
I’ve spent the last few weeks with this at the forefront of my mind. How can I parent in a way that makes me feel good about what I’m doing? I’ve noticed that I’m shouting less because I ‘m thinking about it more. I’m trying to talk them down, finding ways to discipline (threatening to take away toys seems to be working particularly well right now as well as bribing good behaviour with Lego cards) and just generally trying to be more relaxed. We’ve had much better behaviour in the last few weeks from the more troublesome one and I think this is in part due to being more aware of what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. Talking to them more, getting to the root of the problem instead of just flying off the handle. A stern voice works as well if not better than actual shouting…sometimes.
I am still losing my temper but it’s a lot harder to get me to that shouty place than it was. I’ve started to use the “mother glare” that my own mum and all of her sister’s have down to a fine art. A stare that will scare at 10 paces. The stare is not appropriate in all situations though. I defy anyone to stay completely cool when you have 2 children ready and a third is still fighting the fight when all you want is to get out the door and get somewhere on time. In this more introspective and aware place I’m in, I have noticed that a lot of my frustration is due to feeling like I’m going to be late for things or that what we’re doing is taking too long. I need to give myself and the kids more time so there isn’t a rush, if there is a problem, we have that space to deal with it calmly.
I feel that I’m a good parent, some of my techniques might need re-assessing but overall I’m doing what I need to do. I’m trying to show them the right way to behave and if they actually listened I wouldn’t need to raise my voice. Ever. So it’s their fault really! I’m kidding…but I’m half not.
They all seem to be getting to an age where talking is better. I know the youngest one isn’t 1 and a half yet but he seems to be responding to verbal commands, that aren’t at full volume. I will try, try, try to not shout. I will try another way because there always is one. There is no need to lose my temper, to get frustrated. All it takes is remembering that they are only little children and they can’t help being unfathomable amounts of annoying mixed with unfathomable amounts of lovable. And when they’re teenagers I can bring out the big guns and shout to my heart’s content at their adolescent nonsense. Actually, hopefully by then I would have had so many years of being shout-free that the teen years are completely stress free…
Let’s keep growing more zen together!
xx Lee xx
UPDATE: From when I wrote this post to publishing today, I have fallen off the shouting wagon a little but I am trying. Turns out sometimes the best way to get through to a brick wall is to shout at it. Maybe tomorrow will be a quieter day.
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