I have a teensy bit of a confession.
When pushed towards familial chaos, my instinct is to start hollering.
And while I know why my first reaction is to do this, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I figure out ways to take a deep breath, count to 10, and with respect and firmness, speak calmly to my children.
And while I know we won’t be batting 100% on this one, that’s the goal. Because it really, truly matters that our home is a place of love and respect. And yelling quickly drains a home of those two things.
Does this mean we’ll never fight? No.
Does it mean we won’t have to ask forgiveness, sometimes multiple times a day? Nope.
Does it mean we’ll be all rainbows and roses and laughter? Ha!
It just means that we’re all aiming towards kindness and respect and love.
For February, Jake and I’s positive parenting goal is to not yell.
Truth be told, we started it at the end of January. One night I had a long talk with one of the kids and it just hit me smack dab between the eyes that some of the kids’ emotional outbursts and sensitivity was coming from Jake and I’s insensitivity towards them and raised-voiced-impatience with them. That night Jake and I decided to make this our next month’s goal.
That conversation and revelation was so powerful and obvious to me that it’s been a huge motivator in keeping calm. BUT, in the few times I’ve been tempted to raise my voice since then, I’ve used a variety of methods that really have helped. The best one?
When I want to yell: “[Insert name]. You are being so rude to your sister! Those words are hurtful. I expect you to be respectful to your siblings.”
Instead I sing in a funny voice the same thing: “[Insert name]. You are being so rude to your sister! Those words are hurtful. I expect you to be respectful to your siblings!!!”
Typically the kids laugh or it just breaks the tension of whatever ugly situation is in the works. And then, with the emotions of all parties dialed back a bit, I enter into the situation and do the intentional work of parenting (emotional coaching, compassion-raising, consequences, etc.).
We’re at the beginning. Who knows how it’ll go this month. But, in case you struggle with this as well and wish that you didn’t, here are a few articles/books that have been informative and/or inspirational to me. I hope they can be helpful to you as well!
How to Get Kids to Listen Without Yelling // Positive Parenting Connection
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connection // Dr. Laura Markham
The Whole Brain Child // Daniel Siegel
10 Things to Do Differently ‘Before’ You Lose Your Temper // Lisa Jo Baker
What’s your favorite way to cool down and not lose your temper?
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