“IF YOU DO THAT ONE MORE TIME YOU’RE GOING IN TIMEOUT!”
“WHAT MADE YOU THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA?!”
“HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT?!”
Enough with the all caps already, right? Well, if that annoyed you just reading it, can you imagine how my kids felt hearing me scream those things? How I felt after losing my cool and screaming at them? This happens in my house more than I’d like to admit. Which makes my kids feel shitty. Makes me feel shitty. So I’m going to do something about it.
I love my kids. Fiercely. And I tell them that so many times a day they often roll their eyes at me. I’m the first to admit, however, that I have very little patience. This is something I’ve known and dealt with my whole life and something that I actively work on. I didn’t say successfully work on, but actively. I’m trying. Really. Or so I thought I was until I read The Orange Rhino’s “10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at My Kids.” (If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you read her post. It so precisely describes, in my opinion, probably every parent’s struggle with the guilt associated with yelling at your kids.)
This amazing woman made it her mission to stop yelling at her kids for 1 year. A whole mother-loving, freaking year. (And as of today, she’s made it 418 days!) And she didn’t just say she wasn’t going to yell, she actually came up with a plan for how to meet her goal. Like an actual plan, with guidelines for what constitutes yelling, a yelling meter to distinguish various levels of yelling, tracking resources, rules for counting days . . . And then she turned her plan into a challenge. A challenge for other parents to stop all the yelling, too.
After reading all about The Orange Rhino Challenge, I realized that my “efforts” to work on my patience and stop yelling weren’t efforts at all. They were just thoughts that didn’t translate into meaningful actions. The conviction in my head and heart was there, but what good is that if I’m not following through with my actions? “Actions speak louder than words,” I always say. Say. Words. I wasn’t doing. “Aww hell!”
But now I am. I am going to take the challenge. I am proclaiming that as of today, April 1, 2013, my goal is to make it 365 days without yelling at my kids. And then, like The Orange Rhino, I want to keep going. And going, and going. I want to stop feeling shitty when I break down and yell at my kids. I want my kids to stop feeling shitty when I break down and yell at them. I want to stop breaking down and yelling at my kids! I want to learn new methods for dealing with my anger and lack of patience. This problem is all on me. Not my kids. I want to do better by them. I want to be a good role model for them because, quite honestly, I am already starting to see a lot of this yelling behavior beginning in them, and it breaks my heart. I want it all to stop.
It’s a lofty goal, I know, but I’m in. For my kids. For me.
Who wants to join me? (If you do, I promise we can hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” But quietly. Didn’t you hear there’s no more yelling around here?) 🙂