I recently discovered something about myself that I really do not like. I yell. At my kids. Almost daily. And I don’t like it…not at all. When I yell at Gingernut and Lil’ Paul I immediately feel guilt, like I am the worst mom in the world and that I am failing my children. Sometimes I look at them and think, “How can I scream at someone who only a few years ago was so tiny the thought of screaming never entered my mind? How can I yell at someone I profess to love more than life?”
But it is SO HARD NOT TO YELL! Does anyone agree? Anyone? Anyone? Is this on…?
So how do I stop yelling at my two lovely children?
A few months ago I stumbled upon a website called The Orange Rhino. It is written by a mom of four boys, and as a mother of four boys doesn’t she have every reason to yell? She realized that she was yelling too much and took on the challenge of not yelling for 365 days. That’s an entire year folks. One whole year.
Her story is inspiring. Her story is encouraging. She gives great tips and alternatives to yelling as she guides you on a journey to being a better mom to your kids. I haven’t been able to get through the entire website, but immediately upon reading a small portion I was convinced that something had to change. And by that something, I mean myself. One of the best pieces of advice my dad has given me is you can’t do anything about how others behave, but you can do something about how you behave. My children are going to throw fits. They are going to yell. They are going to sit in the floor, pouting until they get their way. But that doesn’t mean I have to.
I became tired of not just the yelling, but of what the yelling brings with it. I became discontented.
I am no longer content to yell at my kids, feeling tons of guilt and remorse, then apologizing only to repeat the same thing the next day.
I am no longer content to behave as badly as a four and a two year old.
I am no longer content to lash out in anger because I cannot deal with that emotion in a proper way.
I am no longer content to have feelings of being a bad mom to my kids.
I don’t want the kids to be scared to tell me they spilled milk or didn’t make it to the bathroom in time for fear that I will yell, criticize, or degrade them. I want them to be able to come to me with the good, the bad, the ugly and know that when necessary they will be disciplined but above everything I love them, cherish them, and want the best for them.
I want them to learn how to handle their emotions. To learn that their is a better way than yelling and throwing a tantrum. And more times than not those ways will yield a better response from others.
I want to teach them how to be good parents.
I want them to learn how to use their words for good…to uplift, encourage, discipline not out of anger but love. I want them to know their words can cut like a knife or they can heal like a soothing balm.
But what I want most is for my children to love and seek the Lord and have an accurate picture of Him. Where are they going to learn to do or not do that? I want them to see Him living in me. I don’t want them to picture God as someone who professes to love them but then yells and degrades them. For me, this is the most powerful motivation to change.
So how am I doing with this? Wwweeelll…I will say that I am yelling less than I was three months ago. That’s something, right? Due to the decrease in yelling, my time with Gingernut and Lil’ Paul is more cherished. We have more fun, play more, and enjoy each other more. Their behavior is improving as well. Instead of asking or telling them over and over to do something I try to tell them one time. If they don’t respond I begin counting. If by three they have not responded then they go to time out. It’s saving me a lot of headaches and anger. I do still have moments of frustration and it takes everything in me to not yell. Hear me when I write….it takes everything in me.
As great as The Orange Rhino has been for me, the thing that has been the most beneficial is the amount of time I spend seeking the Lord. The more I am consumed with Him, the better I am able to show love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. The more I look at Him, the better I am to see my children the way He does. Those little things that could so easily irritate become just little things, in some cases little things to laugh at. I am finding that I don’t want to yell. The desire is slowly fading away. Why? Because when I am consumed by Jesus, the “everything in me” that I wrote about above is Him doing a great work within my heart to make me more like Him.
What are your thoughts? Are you cool, calm, and in control all the time? If so, let me how you handle it all.