It was one of my New Year’s resolutions to stop yelling. I started with this goal during the week of Christmas, so it’s been about a month.
While I can’t say I haven’t yelled at all, I have yelled a lot less. A LOT less. Can count on one hand how many times I have in the past month, instead of that often before lunchtime every day. I got honest with myself and realized it was often not my kids who were making me yell, but other stresses. But, it’s still something I’m working on. It will probably always be something I’m working on, this not yelling at my kids thing. So, I have some strategies to help me not yell as much.
The first thing I did was to take those prime yelling times and make them easier. Morning times are rough here: trying to get everyone out of bed, dressed, fed, hair done, teeth brushed, backpacks packed with all supplies and snacks, everything signed that needs signed, lunches packed, and us all out the door on time.
My boys are not morning people and neither am I. So trying to get them to school on time stresses me out and makes me more likely to yell. So, I organized our mornings as much as possible. If I sign everything that needs to be signed and have my boys get their backpacks packed with their snacks the night before, that helps. Picking out outfits(and locating socks, which always seems impossible) and having those laid out makes the mornings easier, too. The more I can have done the night before, the smoother things go and the less likely I am to get stressed and yell.
The second thing I’m doing to stop yelling, I’ve mentioned before: taking a deep breath before opening my mouth. Sometimes I let out that deep breath in the form of an exasperated sigh. But, it gives me a brief moment to think before I say something in such a way that I’ll regret it. Some people have suggested counting to 10(or 100 or whatever you need to), but for me, I start to open my mouth to yell and in that moment, I take that open mouth to a deep breath instead of saying anything. And that’s enough to make me phrase something differently.
The third thing I’m realizing in my quest to stop yelling is that not everything my kids say needs any sort of response. There’s no reason to get into a verbal battle of wills with a child. Now, I’m not saying that I’ve started ignoring my kids.
But let’s say I tell my oldest that he has to get off the iPad. And of course, he doesn’t want to. So, he’ll want to try to tell me what all he “needs” to do on there before he can stop. Or how he only wants x amount of time more. Or even that I’m not fair. He can always come up with some sort of rationale. But, I can just tell him that he’s done, take the iPad, and that’s it. I do not have to go back and forth with him, explaining why. He knows why he’s done. If he wants to rant about it, I do not have to participate. I can walk away(with the iPad, of course). If he tries to follow me and keep up his whining, I can give him a sympathetic look and shrug my shoulders, but I don’t have to reply.
I’m the adult. I’m the mom. I don’t have to engage in every argument a child might want to have with me. And after doing this for about the past two weeks, my kids have stopped trying to argue their way into getting what it is they want because they see that I’m not only not going to change my mind, but I’m not even going to get into a debate with them about it.
Reasonable things, we can discuss. But when it turns into that whining, why do I have to, you’re so mean type of conversation coming from them, that’s what is more likely to push me to eventually yell. So, I don’t let it get to that point.
I just started a 30 Day Challenge with The Orange Rhino where I hope to gain even more tips on not yelling at my kids and I’ll keep you updated on what is working and what isn’t.