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#31 of 46 Old 07-11-2006, 01:54 AM
 
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About the difference between yelling and raising your voice...it seems to me that the difference is in the amount of control you have over your own emotions. My own mother was a yeller--and often, in the middle of yelling at me (I was a trying teenager, I admit!), she would burst into tears. When emotional, you may yell out of frustration or lack of patience, and that's when you say really hurtful things, things that no child should have to learn to cope with in response to the adults who love and care for her.

When you are using a calm, rational (some say dispassionate, but really it's just staying in control) voice, you can be firm without yelling. You're being matter-of-fact, describing behaviors that are unacceptable, asking for a change, giving choices, setting limits. You're not making it a personal attack or a judgement. When you are yelling, you aren't getting across any useful information except the image of being louder and more powerful than the child.

As a middle school teacher (probably doing penance for the trials I gave my mother), I can sometimes lose my patience and yell at a class, or even at an individual student. And it works--for the moment they listen, obey, act a little scared. But under the surface I can feel something change, and my whole identity as a teacher suffers. These are times when, like when I slip up and yell at my DS (and I do, more than I'd like), I say something like, "I don't like the teacher (mama) that I am when I yell at you. I'm sorry I let my frustration with your behavior get the best of me. This is not the way I want to lead this class, but something needs to change about the situation here so that we can all feel happier and get some learning done."

Sorry to get so long, but does any of that make sense?
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#32 of 46 Old 07-11-2006, 02:06 AM
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Yes, I would be a lot more careful about yelling with someone around who was sensitive to it. My dad's girlfriend apparently thinks our family is always fighting with one another. My siblings and daughter and I heard this and went huh? We haven't had a fight in years - what is she talking about? But we argue and we're loud, especially my brother and I, and to her that means we're angry...

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Originally Posted by eli janine
When you are yelling, you aren't getting across any useful information except the image of being louder and more powerful than the child.
And that you're angry. I do think kids -and all people - need that kind of feedback sometimes - they need to know how their behavior is affecting others. I think the same is true of middle schoolers - I recently taught middle school, and I did raise my voice at times...

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#33 of 46 Old 07-11-2006, 12:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~gilli~
What coping skills will they have?
The ability to pause and take the time or space they need to calm themselves down. A model of how to avoid reacting emotionally. The knowledge that everyone is responsible for handling their own emotions. No one can drive you crazy if you don't get in the car.

I try hard to keep my voice level and calm because it helps me overall. When I raise my voice, it tends to escalate the situation. Speaking softly helps me stay in control--venting brings me closer to yelling.

Hope that helps!
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#34 of 46 Old 07-11-2006, 12:55 PM
 
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Oh, I forgot to add that it depends a lot on what you say when you raise your voice.

OK for me to say:
"I'm so frustrated!"
"I need a minute to calm down."
"AAAAAAAAH!" (in a silly voice)
"I feel growly/angry/grouchy!"
For me, it's OK to say this sort of thing loudly, even yelling, as long as it's not directed at the kids. In fact, I'll even use my name so that I'm yelling at myself, "Jane, calm down!"
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#35 of 46 Old 07-11-2006, 01:38 PM
 
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for me, i would like to raise my two children in a homethat is supportive, calm and healthy for everyone - so in the future when they are older it can be a place for recovering and understanding all the s**t they will have to put up with out there
for me then, being fair and controllling means trying not to raise my voice in anger or frustration except on the odd odd occassion (after all we are all human)..........
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#36 of 46 Old 07-12-2006, 04:44 PM
 
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When I raise my voice, it's almost always about me trying to get back control, usually over my environment or my activity. (i.e. I need space, quiet, cooperation so that I can get something done, a reduction of stressful stimuli, etc...)But if control isn't the point (as we're talking about on another thread), and intimidation is a poorly done, short-term-effective reaction, then why am I raising my voice, after all??

What I really need is an example of how to express anger without it being scary or intimidating. Being ultra-calm while describing feelings doesn't seem to do the trick, as others have pointed out, and getting excitedly upset or angry always seems to have an element of scariness or intimidation in it. Am I just not understanding how to do this because it's never been modeled to me (I had a mother who always lost it when she got angry)? Or do others struggle to express anger in an OK way too? Does anyone feel like they have it down pat?

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#37 of 46 Old 07-12-2006, 05:19 PM
 
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I agree that yelling is an ineffective way of communicating.

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Originally Posted by mbravebird
When I raise my voice, it's almost always about me trying to get back control, usually over my environment or my activity. (i.e. I need space, quiet, cooperation so that I can get something done, a reduction of stressful stimuli, etc...)But if control isn't the point (as we're talking about on another thread), and intimidation is a poorly done, short-term-effective reaction, then why am I raising my voice, after all??

What I really need is an example of how to express anger without it being scary or intimidating. Being ultra-calm while describing feelings doesn't seem to do the trick, as others have pointed out, and getting excitedly upset or angry always seems to have an element of scariness or intimidation in it. Am I just not understanding how to do this because it's never been modeled to me (I had a mother who always lost it when she got angry)? Or do others struggle to express anger in an OK way too? Does anyone feel like they have it down pat?
I have had a tendency to yell also, and have been working hard for a long time to stop yelling and find other ways of communicating with my children. What has helped me is to understand that anger, for me, is always a secondary emotion-the anger arises out of something else. Anger comes out of something unresolved. The desire for control (for example), for me, comes from a need for predictability or for safety or for ease or sleep or whatever-and anger arises when that need continues to be unmet and I continue to be frustrated. I want to control my kids/their behavior as a strategy to meet that need. I become angry then and may yell because I really, really want that need to be met and either I am lacking some degree of awareness of that need or awareness of the separate and different nature of my child's needs, and am likely stuck in one way of perceiving the situation which is ineffective (as opposed to seeing other possible solutions). I'm not seeing the other possibilities for resolving the situation. So understanding where the anger comes from is a big part of the key to expressing my feelings in an effective way.

I agree that discussing emotions in an ultra-calm way doesn't work-at least not all the time. On the other hand, I think it's possible to express oneself with emotion in tone and body language and words without being intimidating. I do not have it down pat but for me the key seems to be being aware of my own needs and feelings, taking responsibility for them (so my child doesn't make me angry, I am angry because I value this and what I saw did not mesh with what I value), and expressing my needs and feelings honestly and fully and while taking responsibility (I feel because I...). When I say this, I may sound angry but I'm not yelling. This is way better than yelling, and though it takes some learning and may at first feel odd ("Do not confuse that which is natural with that which is habitual." -Gandhi) it actually turns out that for me this works-it's a very full expression of my feelings. It's not always easy though. Not at all. It's hard to unlearn habits of expressing anger.
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#38 of 46 Old 07-13-2006, 12:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
I do not have it down pat but for me the key seems to be being aware of my own needs and feelings, taking responsibility for them (so my child doesn't make me angry, I am angry because I value this and what I saw did not mesh with what I value), and expressing my needs and feelings honestly and fully and while taking responsibility (I feel because I...). When I say this, I may sound angry but I'm not yelling. This is way better than yelling, and though it takes some learning and may at first feel odd ("Do not confuse that which is natural with that which is habitual." -Gandhi) it actually turns out that for me this works-it's a very full expression of my feelings. It's not always easy though. Not at all. It's hard to unlearn habits of expressing anger.
Thank you, sledg, for articulating that process in such a way that I can almost see it in my mind's eye somehow (picture me squinting my eyes and reaching out). But I do need work on this. It's really, really hard for me to summon how healthy anger looks when I'm not, say, sitting here reading your post. When I'm in the middle of a stressful day where I have too many "adult" things to do and I'm starting to lose patience, I feel the anger/fear/need for safety and I feel stuck, like my old patterns are dangling me over the abyss. I can't see the vision you articulated at that point, I can only stand there trying to keep my mouth shut while I dangle over the abyss. KWIM? I work on it some, and then we go through a stressful time and I lose some ground and then go around picking up the pieces again and reminding myself what I was working on again. We're in the middle of a month-long move after a year that defies explanation, so I'm picking up some pieces this month, hoping they don't scatter too much again at the end of the month when we finish the move. Hopefully your post will help me keep some pieces gathered in my proverbial pocket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
What has helped me is to understand that anger, for me, is always a secondary emotion-the anger arises out of something else. Anger comes out of something unresolved. The desire for control (for example), for me, comes from a need for predictability or for safety or for ease or sleep or whatever-and anger arises when that need continues to be unmet and I continue to be frustrated.
I think for me it's safety. (Oh, yeah, that and sleep! ) The other big control issues in my life were all begun when I was a child as a way to keep myself safe, so I think I just tap right into that now, even with lesser issues. Parenting is illuminating in the worst and best ways. I'm glad to be along for the ride. Thanks for sharing some of your process; it helps to hear/read it.

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The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein

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#39 of 46 Old 07-13-2006, 01:41 AM
 
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mbravebird-I struggle a great deal with how to handle my anger in a healthier way. I appreciate your honesty in your posts. Healthy anger wasn't modeled for me either. My only words of wisdom are to listen to sledg's words of wisdom!
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#40 of 46 Old 07-13-2006, 11:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbravebird
When I'm in the middle of a stressful day where I have too many "adult" things to do and I'm starting to lose patience, I feel the anger/fear/need for safety and I feel stuck, like my old patterns are dangling me over the abyss.
I find that when I'm getting stuck like that (and I do often), the best thing to do is nothing-the kind of nothing that is just listening (to myself, my inner workings) and not reacting to what's going on around me (and not judging myself). That sounds weird, but it doesn't have to take long. And taking a few moments to not react can be helpful to everyone. If I can just not react and just pay attention to those thoughts that feed the anger/feer/whatever then often other possible responses to the situation (helpful ones) just sort of become apparent. It's hard to describe-there's an aspect of things just falling away once they're recognized, there's some bit of self-empathy, there's a bit of recognizing how to take care of my own needs rather than looking to my children to meet those needs through their behvavior, there's a bit of becoming more aware of my children's actual needs/feelings or a shift in perspective about that which comes from the recognition of how my own thoughts/feelings/needs are impacting my perception and from the falling away of certain thoughts/assumptions/whatever. There is value in quiet and the choice of non-action in that immediate moment.
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#41 of 46 Old 07-14-2006, 12:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
If I can just not react and just pay attention to those thoughts that feed the anger/feer/whatever then often other possible responses to the situation (helpful ones) just sort of become apparent. It's hard to describe-there's an aspect of things just falling away once they're recognized, there's some bit of self-empathy, there's a bit of recognizing how to take care of my own needs rather than looking to my children to meet those needs through their behvavior, there's a bit of becoming more aware of my children's actual needs/feelings or a shift in perspective about that which comes from the recognition of how my own thoughts/feelings/needs are impacting my perception and from the falling away of certain thoughts/assumptions/whatever. There is value in quiet and the choice of non-action in that immediate moment.
I am able to "get" this, although it makes my heart beat faster it seems so near and understandable and yet so far away. You know? Truly, I had to catch my breath a little while reading it. I think I recognize it as something I am capable of and really want -- and perhaps even have been able to do in some other situations -- but it has been slipping away from me, and feeling less like a natural possibility.

I almost think I would benefit from having a co-parent for a day, you know? So sledg, will you come over and stand next to me during our move next week?? I could really use to turn to someone and tell them the thoughts and feelings I'm having, have them say back to me the self-talk (or self-listening) that I can offer myself, and then with that reminder/vision intact, re-enter the situation. Sort of like a parenting doula, lol.

Thanks for visioning with me, sledg. I really appreciate it. So this week I'll be trying some of these things, trying to approach both myself and my son with some of that gentle respectfulness of our feelings/needs that you've articulated in your posts. I know that spot in myself, I know it's there. Thanks for the visioning, again.

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The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein

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#42 of 46 Old 07-14-2006, 10:22 AM
 
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You're quite welcome. And so you know-I still struggle with this stuff a lot, though I am happy to say that I've graduated from rage and lots of yelling to plain old anger that I can express better and I'm doing so much better in the parenting department these days.

You know what helped me begin to figure this out? It was one part in a book that talked about breaking habits. This author suggested that the key to breaking a habit was understanding where the urge to engage in that habit comes from (in the book it was smoking and nail-biting, but I figured yelling is as much a habit as those and I wanted to break it). So the author suggested that the next time the urge comes up, it would be helpful for one to *not* try to stop oneself from engaging in that habit but to simply notice the urge and what brings up the urge. Just notice. Just watch. Don't try to stop yourself. And I decided this was worth a shot but it was incredibly scary because I thought if I don't try to stop myself, I'm giving myself permission to yell, and if I give myself permission to yell I'll do it, and if that continues I'll eventually become this horribly abusive parent. And I saw that this was, of course, silly because I wanted so very much to become a better, gentler parent. These thoughts were coming from cultural messages I had long ago internalized that said that people are basically bad, and that without intruction about what is right and without intimidation, reward or punishment people will naturally choose the worst possible path. When I recognized these assumptions within myself, I let go of them just enough to give this process a try. So the next time I wanted to yell, I didn't try to stop myself. And you know what happened? Immediately I felt a lessening of that urge to yell. In that moment when I felt that lessening I knew I wasn't bad, and I didn't need to use intimidation or punishment or reward on myself. What I needed to give myself was the gift of listening with compassion. And then I recognized some of what was going on inside of me that led to my yelling. And you know, this helped my ability to listen to my kids with compassion grow. It was a gift to all of us.

Good luck with your move. Moving is hard. Remember to take care of yourself. Our children need us to care for ourselves as well as them.
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#43 of 46 Old 07-15-2006, 02:32 AM
 
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sledg-Are you cheating on our other thread? Seriously, though, I've been lurking a bit here, on this one and keeping up with the posts. I think mbrave's posts are so honest and get right to the heart of the "yelling matter". And once again, sledg-Your words are so right on, so important for me tonight. Thanks for this thread and your public discussion on yelling.
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#44 of 46 Old 07-15-2006, 07:26 AM
 
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Have y'all ever heard the interesting twist on an old saying:

"Don't just do something, stand there."

It seemed to fit in w/sledg's beautiful posts

I have retired from administration work, so if you have a question about anything MDC-related, please contact Cynthia Mosher. Thanks!
 
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#45 of 46 Old 11-05-2006, 04:55 PM
 
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bumping.

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#46 of 46 Old 07-27-2007, 07:11 PM
 
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Bumping.

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