Is It Possible For Me To Stop Yelling At My Kids?
I’ve become a yeller. It is not something I am proud of.
Yelling has been a topic of discussion between my wife and I for many years. We’ve gone from fairly laid-back individuals to stark-raving lunatics in the span of about four or five years. It gets so intense at times that I actually actively look to see if the windows are open and wonder if the neighbors think there is some type of maniac loose in our house.
I had the idea for this post brewing in my noggin for the past few days, but seeing a fellow Dad post about his yelling experiences and reading more about yelling from links in his post finally got me to sit down and write this.
And what was it that had this floating around my head for the past few days? This entry from the “My Dad” sheet Chris filled out for Doughnuts With Dad:
Q: “What does your Dad like best about being a Dad?”
A: “He gets to yell at me”
Go ahead, read it again and let that sink in.
When I posted Chris’s “MY MOM” entry from Muffins With Mom day at his school, I said that I would be having Doughnuts With Dad soon and I would do a similar write-up. After reading that post, my mother asked me, “Are you worried?”
I knew what she was getting at.
My son and I do not have the greatest of relationships. He is lackadaisical, inconsiderate and willful. Pretty much every single trait I had as a child (though I would like to think I was more considerate than him…). I’m constantly asking him to do the same thing over and over again. Chris, turn off the light if your not in the room any more. Chris, pick up the toilet seat if you’re going to pee. Chris, wash your hands after going to the bathroom. Chris, stop putting your fingers in your mouth. Chris…Chris…Chris…
We’ve tried to instill good manners and good judgement into both of our children, we really have. “Please”s and “Thank You”s, “Ladies First”, not calling people names, etc…
Chris almost always does the opposite of what is asked of him. There are frequent power struggles in my home which almost always turn into a screaming match between my son and I (or my wife). He also goes from asking for something calmly to immediately crying, wailing and gnashing his teeth if he doesn’t get what he asked for. This type of behavior always just completely shifts our mood to one of anger.
I will say that I feel that things have gotten better over the last six months as we’ve allowed Chris to assert a little bit more of his independence, but the yelling has in no way completely vanished.
And now I’m afraid that, even if yelling does completely vanish, I will never be able to completely turn around the relationship with my son. Yelling has obviously affected him. It has affected our whole household. My wife and I are frequently unhappy with ourselves for yelling and both of our kids now think yelling is a viable way to communicate. And now our daughter has developed a rebellious streak, probably from seeing all the attention Chris gets when he does something we’ve asked him not to do. So, now, sometimes there is twice the yelling going on.
It’s clear that something has to change but there seems to be a lack of patience in our home. I’ve had so many throw-downs with Chris that I go from mild-mannered Bruce Banner to screaming Hulk face in less time than it takes you to say Gamma Radiation. I’ve completely lost patience with the situation.
I don’t want to feel like this any longer. Maybe we, as a family, need to try a new approach.
Aaaaannnddd… while I was finishing up writing this, Chris threw a fit because he left his Nintendo 3DS in Mom’s car and Mom is at work. He then went over to his little sister and took her DS from her while she was in the middle of playing. She of course started yelling at him.
How did I handle it? I walked into the room, asked what was going on and after I found out, I calmly spoke to Chris (after he got done wailing and screaming about not having a DS) about patience and just waiting for Sam to be finished, or ask her if the could take turns. It took a lot of willpower to not just yell at him.