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.
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