The Awful Loud Truth
My voice can get pretty loud sometimes, I am naturally a loud talker and I come from a family of loud talkers. Confession time: I sometimes yell at my kids and I hate it.
My son is super sensitive to this and he has asked me why I sometimes yell. I’m not going to lie, when he asks me this, it breaks my heart a little bit. While I’d love to say that I never raise my voice at my children, it’s not true. I do sometimes. Way more than I’d like to admit.
My kids have two very different personalities and one of my dreams is for them to be the best of friends, but who am I kidding? At 2.5 years apart, separately they are precious angels, together they are constantly in a boxing ring. Sometimes it gets physical between them (I have witnessed shoving, punching and kicking) but usually it’s just bickering.
Common responses to my son’s questions about my shouting:
“When Mommy is asking you to do something or telling you what’s going on and I have to repeat myself numerous times I start to get angry and my voice naturally gets louder each time I say it. How does it feel when you’re trying to speak to someone who is not responding to you?”
“When Mommy is trying to speak to you I find myself having to speak louder than the two of you and you two can be pretty loud, so while it may seem like I’m angry, I’m not always, sometimes I’m just trying to be heard.”
“I’m only human and sometimes when you kids don’t listen or when it gets too loud in here I get frustrated and lose my patience so my voice gets louder. ”
I feel shitty when I yell at my kids. The responses I give my son are the honest truth. I have apologized for yelling at them, I think I’m teaching them that sometimes people lose their cool and the least they can do is own their behaviour and apologize for it. Sure, I sometimes feel like I’m losing my mind and I’m on a hamster wheel that never seems to slow down but what I have to keep reminding myself is that I am the adult in this equation. If I can’t keep my composure, how can I teach them to? It’s not their fault that I’m under stress and having trouble keeping it all together.
So I’ve been trying to keep the yelling to a minimum. I am learning to walk away – sometimes my little one follows me, and let me tell you it’s not easy to try to stay calm when there is a screaming five year old hanging onto your leg while you’re trying to walk away. I take deep breaths, count to ten… or 100. Whatever it takes to try to keep my cool. I’ve realized that if I want to teach them to be kind, I have to be kind and kindness does not involve yelling.
I hate that I get so frustrated and angry sometimes that the only thing I can do is yell. I am not a perfect parent and all I can do is love my kids, remain true to myself and try to do my best. In my quest to teach them to be kind, the kindness has to start with me being kind to myself so I try hard to let the parenting guilt slide away, to go easy on myself, and to view tomorrow as a new day. Lord knows it’s not easy.
Can you relate to this? Do you yell at your kids? Do you hate it like I do? Care to share your experiences? I’d love to read about them.