James P. Sullivan roared. Boo screamed and ran away terrified.
What do your children see when you scream at them?
If this is what they see, do you think they can effectively listen to you? Are they likely to learn from the situation?
There are times I tend to yell. When I’m tired, feeling rushed, when I’m doing something I don’t want to stop doing.
But if I yell, I put a barrier between me and my children. Looking at MY triggers it’s easy to see they really are mine, not my children’s.
If I’m tired, I have less patience. A little spill. Something expected for the age, becomes a big deal. I want the mess prevented in the first place, not just cleaned up. I tend to yell. I tell the girls to clean up. I yell at them because I have more mess to clean. But nothing is solved.
I could take a deep breath and say “Oh-oh, the juice spilled on the floor, can you help clean it up?” They’d probably happily help and we’d continue our day happy. Yelling ruins everyone’s day.
If I’m running late for an appointment I want the girls to hurry. I want them to put their shoes on, I want them to go potty, I want to find my lost ten minutes and end up blaming the girls. But can it be their fault? Aren’t I the one who’s supposed to get us up on time. Isn’t it my job to have everyone fed, dressed, and ready to go? If so, then why do I blame them? Why do I yell. It’s my problem not theirs.
If I kept it my problem, we’d all leave the house in a better mood. We might still be late, but we’d be happy and the rest of the day would run smoother.
What about when I’m making dinner? Food needs to be made, everyone needs to eat. It’s reasonable that I ask them to give me space. Isn’t it?
No it isn’t. Not all the time anyhow. In fact most of the time, I should stop and give them my attention. If they need company, they can help me make supper. If they need a snack, they need it NOW, not in an hour. If I stop what I’m doing long enough to get them a snack it’ll only push dinner back fifteen minutes max, so what’s the big deal?
Those are little issues, easy to solve. What about big issues? Someone gets hurt, someone needs my help telling her sister to let go, to stop taking toys. Is it fair to not only tell them I’m unavaibale, but also to yell at them?
No. When they aren’t capable of solving their problems it’s up to me. I can let them know I’m there, available to help them, love them.
How would you feel if you asked for help and the person you asked started yelling at you? Scared, sad, hurt, angry? None of those emotions help you solve your problem, none of them give you confidence. So why do we create those emotions in our children, and expect them to grow and learn from them?
Today I challenge myself. For one week I will not yell at my children. I will find other ways of letting them know my thoughts and feelings. I will show them how much they mean to me, even when I don’t like their actions. From Sunday to Sunday I will take a deep breath and remain calm with my precious girls.