Recently, I posted on Facebook that I was trying to stop yelling at my kids. There wasn't one rock bottom moment but there were enough bad days that I woke up one morning and thought, "I'm not going to yell at my kids today." Then, the next day I made the decision and the next and the next. Some days are harder than others but none was harder than that first day.
When I posted about my struggle, my friend Allison shared her collection of quit yelling tools and advice. Allison is already one of my mom role models because she is out there making the world an easier place for all of us with her Astoria's Okeyest Mom project. By sharing hilarious (because they are TRUE) pieces of her own moments on the struggle bus, she creates space for the rest of us to just give ourselves a dang break!
So, here is Allison's quit yelling advice!
1. Don't pick up the gauntlet
When your kid challenges you to a struggle at bedtime, don't accept the challenge; distract, go in a different direction - This is from ScreamFree Parenting which has specific examples of how to not pick up the gauntlet. I also have a reminder on my iPhone that goes off every single night in the middle of bedtime that says, "Don't pick up the gauntlet."
2. Treat yourself like a toddler
Think ahead about your triggers and what you need to head them off - do you get cranky when you are hungry, rushing, tired - then try to plan in advance to head those off before bedtime.
3. Laugh with your children each day. Be silly.
4. Week of extreme nice
For one solid week, be extremely nice and sugary sweet to your kids no matter what. This will jump start a period of pleasantness in your house.
5. Give warm greetings and farewells
6. Distill rules into short phrases (e.g. "Hands to yourself"; "Ask first"; "Stay with us.")
7. Try to say Yes
Sometimes, a “no” can be phrased as a “yes.” “Yes, you can have ice cream, just as soon as you’re done with dinner.” “Yes, we’ll leave just as soon as it’s noon.”
8. Under react to problems
By acting calm, you’ll make yourself feel calm, and you’ll also help the people around you stay calm. And that cuts down on yelling.
9. Hug more
10. ACT calm = FEEL calm
One of Gretchen Rubin's rules is to act how you want to feel and then you will actually feel that way. Try it; it works.
11. Be responsible TO them
From ScreamFree Parenting. Basically, remember that you are not responsible FOR your children, you are responsible TO them - it is up to YOU to model the behavior you want to see from them, to SHOW them how to exhibit self-control and other behaviors you ultimately want to see in your child as s/he becomes an adult.
Side note from Sarah: This one CHANGED ME forever. I can't stop thinking about what a difference this small shift in thinking has done for me.
12. Let go of the schedule
I have identified one of my main triggers as the schedule. In my internal insistence on staying exactly on schedule, I often start to lose my patience and then my mind when the children are messing around and we start to go off-schedule; letting go of a specific time in mind or accepting that we can be a little later than usual often calms me enough to prevent the loss of my sh*t.
13. Respond, don't react.
Pause, wait before responding (Instead of "reacting" by freaking out, pause and think for a moment about why your kid is doing what's she doing, what need she's expressing, and about how you can be responsive to that need to solve the problem and diffuse the situation.)
14. Act the way you want to feel
Although we may assume we act because of the way we feel, we often feel because of the way we act.
I'll be back next week with what has helped me TREMENDOUSLY with regards to yelling. What do you guys do to keep your cool with your kids?