Monday, September 30, 2013

Bringing the Volume Down

Some time ago, I came across this article, which I found to be a bit smug but had some good points.

I have always been conscious of yelling and always have known it's deleterious effects.  Before I had children, I never would have imagined myself as a yeller.  But three children later, sad to say, I tend to be.  Not all the time.  But lately, a lot of the time. And I can easily identify bullet #1 (you aren't taking care of yourself) and bullet #6 (you needlessly enter power struggles) as the reasons for my yelling.

This month I am committed to bringing the volume down.

I never feel guilty about taking care of myself, truth be told.  The issue is time and money.  That is, not enough time or money to do those things that I enjoy.  My yelling usually happens around bedtime and by that time, I am so drained and exhausted that I just want and need cooperation.  Which I rarely get.  I know that had I had 2 or 3 hours in the day to just be me, I would be a lot more patient and have more energy.  Maybe even be playful.  I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to go about getting myself more of what I need but I think it's a good first step to at least recognize the need.

And the power struggles.  I won't lie:  my two sons team up on me.  Then know how to push my buttons and if I'm not in the right frame of mind, they succeed fabulously.  If you look at Bullet #6,  I am actually good at point A(making eye contact and stating limits clearly) and B (giving simple choices).  But in the midst of the maelstrom, I often forget to acknowledge their feelings (point C) and I often don't have the energy or I have my hands too full to physically move them along (point D).  So I get frustrated and I yell.

One concrete thing I am doing this month is to cut out television after dinner.  My children are usually allowed one show after dinner and they are supposed to be done by 8.  During that time, I try to sit down and have a cup of tea and check Facebook or read articles and blogs.  So that time usually spills over into 8:15 or so and then we are rushing to try to get teeth brushed and books read by 9.   I am hoping that by restructuring our evening (which takes away my tea time) we will have a quieter pre-bed experience.  One that ends earlier and with less stress which will afford me more time to myself. Maybe.

My ultimate and dearest goal is to have a peaceful household where everyone feels safe and respected. Yelling undermines this goal tremendously and so I am very excited about changing that pattern.

1 comment:

Em said...

I used to yell at my kids too. Mostly at bedtime. DH can't stand it, says that it is so completely ineffective for me to raise my voice, actually has the opposite effect of what I am trying for. It's not just the sound of me yelling but also that I am allowing the kids to get me to the point where I feel my only recourse is to yell. It just doesn't work.

So we also recently changed the time the kids are allowed to watch their show during the day. Used to be before dinner which resulted in them getting to watch longer then they should because dinner wasn't ready after just one episode, and you know Netflix just keeps them coming. Then I moved it to after dinner but the bed time rush was just too much and there were too many complaints from tired kids for just one more, often leading to meltdowns.

So now they are allowed their one episode after breakfast and morning chores are complete and before we head to the school room. At first I was resistant to starting the day with screen time but it works for us. I get to enjoy my tea and have some time to reflect and focus on the day to come before we start school.

Getting this episode is completely dependent on how the day before went with a big focus on bedtime. My kids will mess around in their room for over an hour after lights out, with me constantly going in and trying to get them to resettle. Totally ruins my evening me time, which happens to be the largest chunk of time I get to do whatever I feel like during the day.

Now I rarely have to go in their room at night after lights out. I get my 2 hours to myself, or with DH if he's home, and the promise of 30 minutes before we start school the following day.

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