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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay let me just be honest, I am totally yelling too much at the kids lately and I can't stand it
. This is frustrating me and them as well. I feel like I'm letting them down big time. From morning till night all I hear is "mommy", "mommy", and more "mommy" till the point that I feel like I'm going crazy. My dh works alot-so he is not here most of the time. I don't know how to stop this yelling. My 7 y/o even told me that is scares her when I yell
: . This makes me so so sad. I never wanted to be a yeller, but somehow I have morphed into being one. Any advice/ suggestions from those who've bee thru this? I want to parent so much better than what I'm doing now.
 

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Okay, well, I feel like I'm not exactly a *former* yeller
: but I have really, really, really worked on this and I yell a lot less than I used to. Like, hardly ever at all anymore.

First of all, I think that looking at the underlying causes can be really helpful. Do you need more alone time? More one-on-one time with your DH? More time to sit and read books? More help with the housework? Think about things that could help lower your frustration level in general, and talk to your DH (or other friends/family) about what you can do to achieve those things. My DH works a lot too, but at least a couple of days a week he'll completely take charge of bath and bedtime so that I can get a little bit of "recharging" time at night. This really helps me.

As far as what to do when you are actually in the moment, when I hear myself starting to yell, or getting into that angry "You can't do anything right" mode, I just force myself to stop and walk away. I say that I am going to take a little break, and literally just walk away from the situation until I can calm myself down and deal with things in a more gentle and appropriate manner. I think of this as a "Mommy time-out" (ironic because we rarely use time-outs on the kids).

Also, any time I do lose control and yell, I always apologize to the kids afterwards. I explain that Mommy used angry words and a loud voice and that this was not okay and that I am very sorry. I don't think an apology makes everything all better, but it does help IMHO, and it is something that I would hope my own children would do if they hurt someone else's feelings, so it is the least I can do for them.

I am subbing to this thread because I would love to see more advice from the wiser and more experienced mamas here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks JanB for the reply-much appreciated. I like the suggestion of a mommy time out. I know that after I yell at the kids, all of a sudden I have these moments of clarity and guilt and I ask myself "why am I doing this, will the kids trust me", then I begin to tear up. I do apologize to the kids, but I'm almost embarassed to do so. As for the rest of the family, all of them are out of state-so little extended support network here. Really I guess at this point I'm worried about how it is affecting my relationship with my 7 y/o daughter (my other dd is almost 3). I think maybe I expect so much out of her and then when she doesn't do what I think is appropriate, I get upset. She is already having esteem issues and I think I'm making them worse
: .
I know this yelling is affecting our closeness.
 

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I often feel the same way. One thing that helps me immensely is to workout. Which I DETEST, HATE, DESPISE, ABHOR. Truly, I find deiberate exercise intolerable, but, I don't have the energy to yell if I am fully exercized. Plus, it helps to clear my mind, get a tiny bit of me time and the best part, I do the taebo 8 min workout. So 14 minutes is what I devote once I add the cooldown & warmup times.

I agree with the pp who said to look at what you are missing. Time with DH, time to read, time to yourself. Even if it's just to get a bath without interruption once a month.

Since your dh is gone a lot I think being consistent and having clear expectations are key.

Tired kids are a huge key too. We have outside time year round, if it is above 30 degrees F we are outside at least part of the day. Kids are less likely to fight you with regard to your expectations if they are pooped. And, therefore, you are less likely to be yelling.

I still yell occasionally and it is a struggle daily to not do so. But it is a work in progress.
 

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I am seriously struggling with yelling and being ungentle too.

How does the mommy time-out thing work? If things are escalating with my son (age 4) and I try to disengage he freaks out. He will follow me unless I shut a door between us, and then he stands on the other side of the door screaming and pounding on it. It is so, so *not* calming for me.

Do other peoples' kids really just watch them walk away? Am I missing something?

I difinitely agree about exercise. Since the weather has started to turn springlike here, I have made a point of getting us outside for a good long chunk of time every day I possibly can, and it makes a huge difference.
 

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I am a recovering yeller. Here are some things that have helped me.

Taking a time-out myself when I'm angry, before I speak, helps. This does not necessarily mean actually walking away from my child and going somewhere to sit by myself (my kids freak if I try to do this, they follow me screaming and the one time I shut myself in the bathroom there was a child pounding on the door). I look at it more as finding a peaceful place inside myself, choosing to be quiet and not speak or act for a few moments, taking some breaths, finding some space in my own head. This helps me calm down. Also, taking a time-out is an opportunity to listen to myself and become aware of what I'm feeling and needing and thinking, and (on a good day) becoming aware of how my thoughts, feelings and needs are affecting my perception of the situation. This allows me to give myself some empathy, and it frees me to listen to my children.

It helps to reframe, to reconsider my assumptions about what my kids are doing and why. It helps to rethink my expectations, too, because sometimes my expectations are inappropriate. When my expectations are inappropriate and my assumptions about my kids' abilities/motivations/reasons are inaccurate, my responses are ineffective and I get more and more frustrated. When I reframe, when I think about other potential reasons my kids might be doing something (like apparently ignoring my "request"), I tend to calm down and then I can open up to listen to my kids and to empathize with my kids. When I realize an expectation is inappropriate, I can find another way of handling whatever the situation is. How I understand the problem and how I understand my child leads to how I respond. So, often, to respond better I need to understand differently. If that makes any sense.

It helps to have support, someone to listen to my concerns and feeelings. This is hugely, immeasurably important.

It helps to take care of myself: get enough rest, good nutrition, plenty of water, exercise, sunlight/time outdoors, time to engage in activities that nourish me and are relaxing, and so on.

It helps to focus on connection first. No matter what. If I focus first on connecting with my child, everything else seems to go more smoothly. If we're having a problem, taking the time to connect first (connection without intention of fixing or getting my child to do what I want, connection for the sake of connection) allows both of us to relax and allows us both to open to each other's needs and allows us to cooperate with each other. When we've been through a rough patch and I'm yelling and things aren't going well, it helps to come back to just connecting-it's very healing. For us, connection is the foundation on which eveything else stands and it needs to be nurtured.

It helps me to let go of attachment to outcome, to learn to identify what my concerns are versus what solutions I'm attached to, and to learn to become a little more creative so that I am more able to address my concerns in multiple ways (and to help my child learn that there is often more than one way to address her concerns as well). The reason this is so important to me is that when I am firmly attached to my child doing this one thing in this one way because I need it just this way, then we are going to get into a power struggle and that is when I am likely to yell. OTOH, when I am able to say, for example, "my concern is that each person in this family helps care for the house" instead of "I need to empty the dishwasher, I can't do everything around here. I'm waiting. Time to empty the dishwasher..." then I am able to find other ways to address my concern: "you don't want to empty the dishwasher? What's up? You're tired of that, it's boring. I think it's boring too. Thing is, I need some help cleaning up this kitchen so I can get dinner finished on time. Maybe there's another way you can help me. Any ideas?" And really, this helps so much. Not all the time, no. Sometimes we still get stuck. But that's okay, we get stuck a lot less when I approach problem-solving in this way, and it helps my kids learn to problem-solve better and to consider the needs of others as well. This method is (more or less) the Collaborative Problem Solving model from the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. While I have one "explosive" child, I also have two other children and I find this model of conflict resolution to be very effective and it helps me to not yell. The steps of the method are 1) empathy-get the child's concern on the table and take your time doing it so you get to the real concern (and know the difference between a solution and a concern) 2) identify the problem-get the parent's concern (not solution) on the table and 3) invite the child to problem solve-invite the child to come up with ideas to address both concerns in a way that is realistic and satisfactory to both parties (this requires letting go of attachment to a particular outcome, and an openness to not knowing in advance what solution you'll come up with-but knowing the goal is to find a solution that works for both parties. Yes, sometimes there isn't time for this, and that's okay too).

Some books that have been of particular help to me in this journey: Time Out For Parents: A Guide to Compassionate Parenting by Cheri Huber; Connection Parenting by Pam Leo; Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.
 

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You've gotten some really great advice. There are only three small things I wanted to add:

1. I try my best to not raise my voice because it dawned on me that I would not respond well if someone yelled at me (I haven't been yelled at since I was a kid - dh is not a yeller at all).

2. The times I have yelled the look on my son's face breaks my heart and I know that I have the power to control myself so that he doesn't have to hear it again (and I won't have to see him look at me like that again). That look told me that the more I yell at him the more he is going to think it is okay for anyone else to yell at him - it really strips him of his power. He should not have to accept that from outside the home and especially not from his own mom.

3. I don't want to raise a child that yells. Of course kids are loud but I don't want him to think that it is acceptable to yell at someone out of anger. I want him to have better tools to handle his anger and I know that I have to model them.

For me, everytime is an effort and each time I get it right I pat myself on the back. Everytime I mess up I tell myself I'm human, apologize to my son and keep going. The negatives do not bring me down because I know I can do this and I am having much success. Beating myself up over it will not do my son anygood and I know I have to succeed for him.
 

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I've been having a lot of trouble with this since I separated from my H and my life has become a lot more stressful.

For me, a mommy timeout is something I have tried a few times (when I was on the verge of hitting DS) and it does not work well, because as another poster experiences, DS feels abandoned and follows me and then hits/kicks the door and calls to me, meaning I am essentially abandoning him emotionally.

Anyway, truly the only thing that has helped me is preventative maintenance. I have to recognize when I have just had too many evenings of non-stop DS (who I love with all of my heart and who I adore spending time with) and get a little mama time in. Quiet time by myself is something I really have to have sometimes to remain balanced. The only time I'm away from DS is when I'm working, normally, so I really have to make an effort to get some alone time.

Also, trying to get some good sleep on a normal basis (with a 3 year old? Ha!) helps when it's possible.

Those things are truly the only thing that helps me not yell and be a horrible mama. I was so much calmer as a SAHM, I was such a good mama. I hope I can get back to that again.
:

Hope you're able to get your yelling under control too, mama!
 

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I am the daughter of a yeller and got to the point where I knew my Mom wasn't really serious. The reason behind the yelling cooled off a few minutes after the yelling was over and things weren't really followed through with. It helps me to keep that in mind. Sometimes our role models leave both good and bad examples to remember.
 

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I wouldn't call myself a former yeller, because I still have bad days. But I have found something that helps me tremendously. If I can get away from the kids for a minute, I go to my bedroom and sort of "meditate" (for lack of better wording) on this quote:

"Hard words are like hailstones in summer, beating down and destroying what they would nourish were they melted into drops."

If I can't get away, I just close my eyes and think of the quote. Then I do my best to let my words come out as "drops" rather than "hailstones." This has been a really helpful metaphor for me.

I'm actually about to put this quote into my siggie.
 

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I hate to admit it, but I yell WAY more than I would like
: . My son neverwent through the terrible 2s but he has certainly hit the terrible 3s.... I feel like he just does NOT listen!! I have an 18 week old and I just feel frazzled and without much patience [God grant me the serenity to...]

Hearing these tips... are helpful!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by becoming View Post
"Hard words are like hailstones in summer, beating down and destroying what they would nourish were they melted into drops."
: I love it. I don't often yell per se, but I do use "hard words" and a harsh tone when I'm at the end of my rope. This is going to help me immensely!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by P-chan View Post
: I love it. I don't often yell per se, but I do use "hard words" and a harsh tone when I'm at the end of my rope. This is going to help me immensely!
I am also not so much a yeller but a louder, harsh tone comes out and it is scary to my ds. He cries everytime.
:

For me, there is a direct correlation between my anger and sleep deprivation (I have a 10mo who likes to wake up a lot at night). This is not something I can change as my baby isn't ready to nightwean and we don't do CIO. So I have to figure out ways to manage my rage during this difficult time.

I love the tips you've all mentioned. And, sledg, your post brought tears to my eyes. Excellent advice and it really helped to remember that there are concrete things I can do. I especially love focusing on the connection with my child and also letting go of my desired outcome in a given situation.

I'm going to practice these things for sure. We should start a support thread where we can talk about our good and bad days, progress, tips that work, etc.

Hang in there mamas...it's so important to remember that we're human and acknowledging that this is an issue is a huge step in changing it.
 

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Yelling is something I am working on as well. It's a work in progress, but here are some things that help me.

1. Exercise. I know others have said it, but it really, really helps. I belong to the community center here and they have free childcare while I work out. I go right after breakfast and it helps to get my day started on the right foot.

2. Predictable routine. Our routine is certainly not set in stone, but it really, really helps me to have a general structure for the day. The more planned my day is, the better. I know what we are doing next and can prepare DS for it, so I think it helps him, too. Also, certain things are always the same in our day and it really helps to make transitions smooth for him.

3. Flexibility. This one is hard for me, and it's kind of opposite to #2, but I think both are important. If the kids are making it hard for me to load the dishwasher (or whatever) I have to remind myself that I don't have to finish everything the same time it is started. Close the dishwasher and attend to the kids. It irritates me to no end not to be able to finish things when I start them, so this is a big trigger for me that causes me to yell. I guess I could relabel this one as "Know your triggers."

4. Tarzan yell. I think this came out of Raising Your Spirited Child, but I'm sure Kurcinka is not the only one to offer advice such as this. If I know I'm going to explode then I let out a loud yell, really more like a war cry. I can laugh about it when I'm done and it really diffuses my anger. Also, it doesn't seem to upset the children.
 

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Thanks for starting this thread. I often feel the same way. What I find to be particularly difficult is that I often recognize that I need a moment to cool down so that I can avoid losing it and behaving badly, however I can't always have that moment. At times, I might go to the bathroom and close the door, but there's DD on the other side pounding on it "Mommy! Mommy" or I just lower my hear to take a breath or two and she's tugging my hand away. It is really hard. I find that when DD's behavior is a bit more even, I am FAR less emotionally labile. Additionally when I get a little time to re-charge it makes a BIG difference. My advice (easier said than done, because I'm not doing it) is to try to find something that provides you some "me" time. Suggestions here like working out are great. If you have family support or can find a "mother's helper" in the neighborhood that is great too. I think it is so true that when we take care of ourselves, we take better care of our kids. It's just often hard to make that happen.
 

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Here is a thought that might not be relevant to you, but it made a huge difference to me.

I was a yeller (did not like it) and my temper had a very short fuse.

I found out I was allergic to gluten and I was having food related mood swings.
Within days of cutting out gluten I was a different person and now I very rarely loose my temper and yell and when I do it is much less severe and I can usually pull myself out of it.

I am not saying everyone might be allergic to gluten but many people have undiagnosed food sensitivities and mood swings are a side effect.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylith View Post
How does the mommy time-out thing work? If things are escalating with my son (age 4) and I try to disengage he freaks out. He will follow me unless I shut a door between us, and then he stands on the other side of the door screaming and pounding on it. It is so, so *not* calming for me.

Do other peoples' kids really just watch them walk away?
I remember vividly ds was between 3 and 4 and I needed to walk away and put a door between us. I went into the bathroom to cool off for a moment. What did he do? He peed on the door!

Talk about an ice breaker. I couldn't even stay angry, I thought it was so funny.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by becoming View Post
"Hard words are like hailstones in summer, beating down and destroying what they would nourish were they melted into drops."
That's great! I am, by nature, a yeller as well. I have to work really hard at it!
 
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