Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Things that help stop the yelling.

I have been trying to stop (or reduce!?) the am't of yelling that I do at my kids. I feel like I've notched it way back, if I don't have AF coming, and it's certainly a LOT less than when I was a kid, but I do still yell. On MDC I helped to put this list together. Again, it's not exhaustive, but it IS pretty good! :D

1. whisper
2. be clear about what you want.
3. give them easy directions that get you what you want (not requests)
4. apologize afterward (which I'm on the fence about - I think it IS right to let them know we are human and make mistakes, but unless we are really not going to do it next time, apologies don't mean much, kwim? I grew up w/a yelling mom who would tell me how human she was all the time, and it got annoying and I learned only to ditrust her.)
5. Enunciate!

and from the other thread Pat led us to (thank you Pat!)

6. STOP! What are you feeling (anger, what ELSE?)? Don't judge whether it is ok to feel this way, just OBSERVE that this is what you are feeling. What do you NEED in that red hot moment? Quiet? Space? Love? Understanding? Cooperation? Now go get it!
7. recharge before it's too late! Take a 10 min. time out and breathe, stretch, do something physical (chop wood, shovel dirt or snow, clean out the car (or some of it lol!), etc.
8. establish patterns that work for you. Cleaning bedrooms before bathtime, all toys away before dinner, etc. Try for ideas.
9. pick your battles
10. have a keepsafe - a small rock, crystal, or token in your pocket to remind you of what you WANT in that red hot moment (what DID you want?)
11. redirect redirect redirect.
12. make sure you are happy with most of the rest of your life - your sex life, your productivity, your spirituality need to be taken care of before you will have enough energy to successfully take care of anyone else.
13. Be in the present: if you are wanting to be somewhere else, or doing something else, it's going to be harder than normal to be patient.
14. Let go of needing your children to be anything but what they are. They will never embarrass you or make you out to be what you aren't (ie: a bad mother) because their honesty, goodness and loved-ness will SHINE because you trust them, know them, and love them no matter what.
15. eat good food with regularity.
16. Sleep whenever you can or need to. Bring the kids, lock the bedroom door, and sleep.
17. it's not our job to be "perfect" as mothers but simply to be fully present with our children (and partners)
18. Not should, but WILL, or don't like, or I'm letting go of... Should implies you did it WRONG. There is no wrong, only little lessons that take us further along the path.
19. Be aware of yourself - are you hungry, tired, overstimulated, stressed, hormonal? Take care of these and then deal with the rest.
20. Find humor in the situation: is it funny that she is wearing her pajamas unside down? that he's running around naked playing air guitar with his schmeckle? that she needs 14 teddies and her stuffed lizard to be able to sleep in bed at night? Kinda. So laugh a little, tell them you love them and are close to imploding, and say goodnight. you'll check on them. You'll be back in a few minutes and if they're in bed you'll read to them. Whatever you need to do. A touch of humor can go a loooong way to difusing a potentially violent (as in yelling) situation.
21. make contact with your child(ren). Eye, body, etc.
22. stop what you are doing. make them the most important thing in that moment.
23. keep your point short and sweet.
24. no means no. don't repeat yourself.
25. Have FUN with your family! Every relationship should have a fun element to it - take pleasure in each other's company.
26. natural child website

And a few from me.

1. PMS. 3 days before and 2 days after my period I'm a real she-bear! I'm grumpier, need more sleep, chocolate, and love than any other time of the ... month lol! Being aware of this helps me, I take some herbal supplements to help me w/my lower levels of patience.

2. TV is not all bad. I use it to give myself a bit of a breather. Sometimes I use it more than I like, some days more than others, but I have learned that if I do use it, not to beat myself up over it. At all.

3. Do things in parallel - esp. good for littles under 5. Color - on separate pages. Read - different books. Dig - your own sand traps. It's ok to NOT do every single thing for them, or even with them.

4. Whenever possible, let them work out their differences. Give them a peaceful space to do this. Give them boundaries (no name calling, use the person's actual name etc.) and let them work it out. They will learn to both appreciate and respect each other in a way that YOU solving their problems will never do for them.

5. Cook ahead as much as possible. Chop up onions on the weekends, and keep them in the fridge. Onions make eggs, potatoes, tofu, and many other foods a meal.

6. Get OUT. Take a walk, bundle up, just get OUT. It will really help!

7. Make plans. Looking forward to things is a wonderful way to get through the day.

8. Join a club or circle or group. Book club, women's circle, or writing group - doesn't much matter. It's something for you about you and keeps you going.

9. Treat yourself once in a while! A mani or pedicure, a babysitter, a new pair of shoes. It doesn't have to be super expensive (a new pair of flip flops will seriously make me HAPPY), but once every 4 mos or more frequently if you can afford it, it makes a HUGE difference.

10. Look into your insurance - mine will pay for up to 6 massages a year, and several chiro visits as well (with a co-pay). These are a wonderful way to relax your day and give you something to look forward to!

11. Are you and are your children eating well for YOU? make sure you aren't allergic or reacting to your food.

12. CST/Chiro is a wonderful way to realign your body and mind.

13. Find a friend, get together, share war stories. I find it is so empowering to find a woman and share stories. Listening and offering empathy, maybe a word of advice, and getting the same in return is amazing. I had to really break out of a shell to find someone like that here, but once I did I really felt SO much better about myself! It made me yell less often because I could feel the 'virtual' support of my friend saying - yeah, wow, that would make me angry too! So, what do you need to do to deal with it w/out yelling? It SO helped!

14. BREATHE. Seriously. Yelling is pushing air OUT. Take in deep breathes and you are less likely to push it out with a yell.

Oh, wanted to list some of the books that were mentioned:

Liberated children, liberated parents by Mazlish and Faber
Easy to love:difficult to discipline by Becky Bailey
Scream Free Parenting
Dance of Anger Harriet Lerner
How to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk

I think Amazon has all these books - so will most libraries!


Kitty Mommy said...

Wow! What an excellent post. This is something I have been working hard on recently, too. We went through a lot of changes and upheaval that left me at the end of my rope much of the time. Things are smoothing out again, but now there are some bad habits that need to be fixed!

Katherine said...

Great post, Andy.

Liberated parents .. is the one and only parenting book I found transforming. Love it.

I love so many of your ideas - some I use already, and some I'm going to be trying out.