“No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.”
~ George Jean Nathan
I’ve talked a lot about fitness so far in the Discipline Project, but not so much about the second element of my year of focus: Emotional control. This will be infinitely harder than the fitness goal for me. I have a big bubble – I need a lot of space. I’m not a touchy-feely-cuddly person. I like my quiet time. I enjoy being alone. So when my days are full of cooking, cleaning, taxi-ing, teaching, and listening to the chatter, questions, and arguments of my children, there are many times when I want to run to a quiet place and hide from all the noise and demands.
I just get mad.
“If you’d just listen to me the first five times I say something, I wouldn’t have to yell at you.”
“Can’t you two EVER just behave?”
“I’m so SICK of this! I’ve HAD IT.”
How many times have you “had it?”
No parent likes yelling at their kids. But we continue to do it because these kids? They know how to push our buttons. We think it’s simply a part of our parenting tool box, but I have come to realize that yelling is verbal abuse. Plain and simple. And when I hear my 12 year old parroting my reprimands to my 6 year old? Ouch.
I asked my kids yesterday to tell me how I sound when I get angry. My son (12) was hesitant and shy about it, but my daughter (6) had a blast imitating me.
Except it’s not funny. She’s told me a few times that I scare her. I scare my own kids. Lovely.
I talked to my kids about respectful voices and language. I told them parents aren’t perfect and I’m trying hard to stop talking like that. I asked them to remind me when my words hurt them.
For the next 12 days, I will be following Noble Mother’s 12 Days to Stop Yelling and I’ll post my progress every day. Today’s task is to talk less and act more. When making a request to your child, don’t talk or use only one word. You may use gestures to suggest and encourage your child to do what she needs to do.
Why not give it a try?