Hello, my name is Janelle and I am a yeller. Some of the time. Too much of the time. I think we have all been there. Ten minutes to get out of the house. I have been asking my older son to get his shoes on for the prior ten minutes and he still is nowhere near his shoes. I just changed the baby’s diaper but he has pooped again and now I am trying to chase him down to change him again while still asking my older son to put on his shoes while he rolls around on the floor or does something else completely unrelated to what I am asking him to do. SNAP!
I always feel guilty after I yell. I see the hurt look on my oldest’s face and know I have acted childish. It’s just so hard in those moments to stay calm. Last week, I had both kids in the bathtub. The older one wanted to lay down, but he is too big to do that with the little in the tub. Regardless of how many times I said “sit up,” he did not. The baby ended up getting soap in his eyes because I washed him in a position where I couldn’t see his face well. Commence the screaming. “Sit up god d$%%#$t!” How classy am I? The worst part was when my husband came in from outside and told me how loud I am. We live in a neighborhood where the houses are so close together you can hear your neighbor sneeze from inside their house. Surely at least a few people hear my screaming when it happens. It is definitely past due that I work harder on not screaming.
The last time I yelled at my son for not putting his shoes on, I later tried to drop him off at summer camp and he started crying and angrily tried to march away, saying he would not stay. It took twenty minutes and a phone call to my husband before I could leave him without him following me to the car. I was so upset that he was upset and the analyst in me began thinking. And thinking and thinking.
Some of my best thinking comes when I am exercising. While I was hitting the punching bag in my garage that day I felt so angry. What better place to let it all out!? I ended up realizing that I was angry at myself. It is my responsibility to manage time and make decisions which avoid outcomes in which I become so stressed, irritated or overwhelmed that I end up screaming at my kids. I can act pretty childish when I am rushed or overwhelmed! I really need to get a grip, step back and take a breath. It’s okay if we are five minutes late or I have to bathe my kids separate so they can enjoy their bath. When I try to make them do everything my way, they don’t and I get frustrated. I think the real art of parenting is allowing kids more freedom to make choices which are in alignment with your end goals. If my older son likes to lay in the bath, I can no longer try to cram both of them in there to save myself time. In the end, it becomes more of a problem for me to try to make them do things my way.
It’s so strange to me how one day my kids were just babies who needed me for every decision and then they wake up the next day wanting to do everything themselves. This happened much earlier with my second; he has a big brother he wants to be like. Parenting is an evolving process which needs constant re-evaluation and adaptation. My older son is 6 now and knows what he wants and doesn’t want. I need to begin trying to honor his feelings and choices instead of trying to cram him into the day I have planned for us.
I have never been the type to let my kids make a mess just because they want to. My youngest is in love with these Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. I used to keep them under his crib but had to move them into the linen closet because he would pull all eight of them out and roll around on the floor with them. Now, occasionally he will ask me for them. Not just one, but ALL of them. (That he can see, anyway. Usually its just the top 3 off the pile.) I usually say no because I don’t want to do extra laundry, but recently I just gave him what he was asking. He is so happy to have a few of them at once and they really don’t get dirty enough that I can’t return them to the shelf when he is done. There is no big deal in letting my kids make a few decisions in their day. It makes them so much happier! Happier kids = better listeners.
In the last year I have been reading about a parenting method called Peaceful Parenting, which encourages empathy and listening when raising children. It is exactly what I need! I never thought I would need parenting lessons, but I definitely do. Peaceful Parenting provides methods to help control your own behavior and emotions so that you can help your child navigate through their own emotions. I have always noticed my children are like a sponge and will subconsciously mirror my behavior. For someone like me, tools are necessary to prevent things from getting out of control.
As the universe always provides, Heather from Mommypotamus.com sent out an email last week about a free one-hour Positive Parenting webinar offered by Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions on July 8th and July 9th. Amy has been featured on The Martha Stewart Network, New York Times and the Today Show to name a few. I have looked into her material time and time again for help with getting my older son to listen, stop whining and behave better overall. I feel I can never have enough tools to resort to and I am so excited for this class!
If you would like to sign up, visit this link.
Do you have any tools to help you be a more Peaceful Parent? Let me know in the comments below!
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