If you missed it, last week I took up The Orange Rhino’s no-yelling challenge and shared the beginning of my journey with you in my first post: I’m In: The Orange Rhino Challenge. I was so excited to start this, and even got the rest of the family in on it.
My goal: 365 days. I made it 7 with absolutely no yelling. Really, none. But then I started slipping on the 8th day. I still wasn’t yelling, but I was talking through clenched teeth a lot of the time, and I wasn’t always talking so nicely. I wanted to regain my traction, so I decided to start over yesterday; rewind to Day 1. And I didn’t even make it through that day.
What set me off? Trying to get the kids out the door for a special treat and being met with a ton of fussing and whining from the 3 yo. He didn’t want to leave the house. He didn’t want to stop playing with his dinosaurs. His shoes felt funny. He hit his sister. It’s the same damn thing EVERY time we try to leave the house. And I lost it. “Why are you fussing so much when I’m trying to do something nice for you?” “Why can’t we get out the door without you pitching a fit?” “Why do you have to do this every time we try to leave the house?”
It’s painful for me to admit this and to read back what I said. Because you know what? I KNOW this happens every time. My son is 3–he doesn’t always deal well with transitioning from one thing to the next. And he doesn’t have the emotional maturity to handle his feelings and frustration during these times. So, he pitches a fit. AND I KNOW THIS. I know this so much that I usually help prep him for outings or any other seemingly abrupt change in scene. If I know we’re going out, I’ll start the day by going over our schedule–what we’ll be doing, where we’ll be going. And then when we need to go somewhere, I start about an hour out reminding him that we’ll soon need to stop whatever it is we’re doing so that we can start getting ready to leave. You get the picture. Usually this works, but not always. AND I KNOW THIS, TOO.
So really, the problem wasn’t with my son at all. It was with me. He was being a normal 3 yo experiencing normal 3 yo emotions, and dealing with them in a normal 3 yo way. Instead of asking why he was behaving the way he was, I should have been asking myself what I needed to do to calm myself down so that I could re-approach the situation without the anger and frustration. Because I’m the adult. But I didn’t, and I yelled. And we were back to square one.
So, here I sit feeling a bit defeated. And sad. But I am trying. And so are the kids. And we will keep trying. This in itself, I realize, is a huge step.
Today is a new day. Day 1. Again. We can do this. No matter how many times we need to start over.
Until the next update . . .
To keep up with my journey, please feel free to check out my Orange Rhino Challenge page. For more information on the challenge, please visit: http://theorangerhino.com. And if you’re on the challenge, too, let me know. We can support each other and hold each other accountable. Go Orange!