To Yell or Not To Yell…

… that’s the question! (be warned, this is going to be a stream of consciousness post.)

Yes it is! It has been a question which has occupied my mind before, in passing, at that point i decided i couldn’t deal with it. Then a couple of days ago i came across this post. And over the last couple of days, i had my son’s best friend stay with us for 48 hours, yes for 2 whole days i was a mother of two 😉

Now i have had this boy stay over with us before, quite a few times, usually just a one night thing (evening till lunch) and i have even taken him with us to a farm stay for two nights. We have had no problems and the boys get on really well, even though there were always times they fight/disagree. But for some reason, this time round, i had yelled so much more. i don’t know – they were just rowdier or it could be the phrase of the moon – who knows?

It is no secret – i’m a yeller. (See this post.) And yes i always feel bad after i yell. So when i read that post from Orange Rhino, i could identify with some of what she wrote but i disagree with some of it too.

For example,

2. My kids are my most important audience.

While i can understand where she is coming from, and i fully agree that if you have self-control in public, you can do the same in private, i have to say that i am not my son’s mother to get praises from him. This, likely, has much to do with my Asian upbringing. We are taught from young that we respect our parents, regardless, because they are our parents and everything (i mean EVERYTHING) they do is for our good, whether we see it or not. (Here’s more about that.) So being proclaimed “Best Mummy” is not a viable goal for me.

However, i heartily agree with the following statements:

4. I can’t always control my kids’ actions, but I can always control my reaction.

9. Taking care of me helps me to not yell.

Back to what i was feeling, i was feeling terrible for yelling so much over the last couple of days. And i kept thinking about this Orange Rhino Challenge and maybe i should do it. So i read about the 12 Steps and the Alternatives to Yelling.

The 12 Steps i like very much, it makes the goal of not yelling doable. The Alternatives to Yelling had me smiling through most of it. But i don’t think i would be able to use some of it, such as:

1. Run around the house

i live in an apartment (92m sq), filled with furniture, not much room to run around it. 😉

29. Go read favorite page of 50 Shades of Grey

Don’t have the book, don’t intend to or want to purchase it. 😛

37 . Open up the freezer and put head in

If you have been to our apartment or any small apartment in Switzerland, you would know it is not possible to put your head in the freezer! ahhahaa 😉

Ok so far, i’m leaning on the side of trying the challenge – at least for a month or a couple of weeks? Maybe?

THEN… i read this other post today! And i nodded through it. It is hard to not re-post it in its entirety here because i do love every line he wrote! But i will show restraint and post only what is related to yelling…

You are not a terrible parent if you yell at your kids sometimes. You have little dictators living in your house. If someone else talked to you like that, they’d be put in prison.

… and an encouraging line or two or three…

You’re an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we’re failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

One of the reasons we are so exhausted is that we are oversaturated with information about the kind of parents we should be.

So maybe it’s time to stop reading the blogs that tell you how to raise the next President who knows how to read when she’s three and who cooks, not only eats, her vegetables. Maybe it’s time to embrace being the kind of parent who says sorry when you yell. Who models what it’s like to take time for yourself. Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.

So where am i going with this post, my post?

Well, i don’t know. (i did warn you at the beginning.) i guess i’m still processing and i wanted to tell mummies and daddies out there:

You are doing the best you can. You love your child/ren. You feed them, clothe them, make sure they get an education, love them, have fun with them, hug them, talk with them, take care of them when they are unwell, you worry about their future, you hope and pray they will be well, strong, kind and show love to others… and much much more… You are doing the best you can so give yourself a break, take a seat, kick off your shoes, breath and have a drink (not necessarily alcoholic).

And whether or not i will take the “not yelling” challenge, we’ll talk about that another time. Until then, i intend to take the following advice from Orange Rhino when yelling situations occur:

94. Count to 10. Or 100. Or 1000 until you calm down. (forces one to regroup and get perspective)

95. Walk away (more opportunity to gain perspective)

96. Take a deep breath (if one is breathing, one can’t yell!)

97. Whisper (don’t know why this works, it just does!)

98. Turn the Lights off (the shocking factor stops kids in tracks and adds calmness)

100. Grab your hands together and squeeze (a great release)

Here’s to a relaxing parenting weekend! (Hopefully?)

syc