Monday, April 18, 2011

Old Yeller

A few months ago I discovered that I was yelling at my kids more and more. I am sure the increase in the volume of my voice as well as the increase in the times I found myself raising the volume of my voice is due to many many circumstances. The first and foremost circumstance would be the fact that I have three boys. I believe there was a medical study done which related the presence of a Y chromosome decreases the capability to hear ones parents by about 75%. Combine that with being pent up in the house most of the winter, short attentions spans, stress, home projects, and the kids inability to stop hitting each other I found myself yelling a lot.

 I don't like yelling. I think the more a kid gets yelled at, the more they tune it out. The yelling becomes part of the background noise and is even less effective. This than causes the yell-er to yell more and even louder which , well, you know becomes a bad cycle. Anyway, I found myself yelling more and I decided that I would try my best to not yell at the kids. I decided I would give it up for lent. I even told the kids I was giving up yelling for lent. I knew that if they knew I was trying, I would hold myself up to a somewhat higher standard. Just by thinking about not yelling would make me talk to the boys in a different and hopefully better manner. I was giving myself 40-46 days to break my yelling cycle and hopefully figure out a better way to discipline and deal with my parenting frustrations.


Let me just say that this is one of the hardest Lenten sacrifices I have made. Instead of yelling or barking at the kids I have found myself gritting my teeth and issuing whispered gravely voice reprimands. There is a seen in A League of Their Own where Tom Hanks does his best to hold in his screaming at one of the players for missing the cutoff man. I feel like that. All the time. Does this mean I yelled at my kids all the time? No. It just means that I think my kids know I am working on NOT yelling and they are taking advantage of me.


I hope my little experiment pays off and even after Easter I continue to work on not yelling.


Parenting in public is hard work. Not yelling is even harder. I never realized how much yelling is an impulse reaction. Over the past 5 weeks I am sure that I must look like a deranged twitching conniption ready lunatic when I have tried to discipline kids or get their attention.

If you know me and you see me and the kids at the grocery store or the ball field or wherever and I look like a muttering stuttering spastic whispering through gritted teeth please do not think I am a crazy person. Please just know that I have three boys and one of them is in trouble.

12 comments:

James said...

It's the same thing here, and for the same reasons, too, I believe.

And the League of Their Own reference is spot on.

Anonymous said...

Love it!

eclectic said...

Having grown up in a home where spanking was the go-to discipline of choice, I consider myself highly successful as a parent because I *merely* yell where my parents would have spanked. *sigh*

I truly believe that the effort expended by any conscientious parent to do difficult things for the benefit of their children is the thing that sends the very vital and crucial message that the child is valuable and worth the effort to the parent. In other words, it's not so much whether you yell, but rather, that you're trying hard to be a great dad, whatever form that takes. The kids see that, and take from it the notion that they matter. A lot. To the very person that matters most to them. Well done, you.

SciFi Dad said...

From one self-disappointed yeller to another, I feel your pain.

Charity Donovan said...

My name is Charity & I am (not) a recovering yeller! I try, but sadly I think my head would explode if I tried to give it up all at once. Good for you! And here I thought I was really doing something big by denying myself chocolate for 40 days! =)

Michelle said...

Yelling is my go-to thing. I come by it naturally. My mom was a yeller. Her mom was one too. With 4 girls, the volume in my house has 2 levels, ridiculously loud and all-kids-asleep. They try to talk louder than the one standing next to them to make themselves heard. I once tried to give up yelling. I think I popped a blood vessel in my eye.

Anonymous said...

When my kids were young I noticed I yelled continuously at them for the same reasons. I decided one day that I would stop. It was a work in progress but now my kids are 18, 16, and 13 and I rarely raise my voice at them. When I do, I immediately apologize for it, because I think you should lead by example. We wouldn't want our children to speak to anyone else that way so why should we as parents. Best decision I ever made for myself.

Anonymous said...

Talk like Yosemite Sam. That is the best. Sassafrassin guggli mugli.

Anonymous said...

At Dan-o's Church a few weeks ago I said to my kids look at that statue of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I realized that I had never heard that phrase in a normal speaking voice before.

Anonymous said...

So glad that at least one of my children made it to church last week. Jesus Mary and Joseph are answering my prayers. I have prayed to them all my life.....in one way or another...isn't anonymous FUNNY ?

Ali said...

A cousin posted this on Facebook last year:
"--- has figured out how to be a godly mother, soft spoken and patient. Hire a workman to be in your home for 11 hrs. It does wonders at improving the character."

James (SeattleDad) said...

Thankfully, I can't really yell. My voice breaks up. I have learned to hold it all in. Some day I am going to blow...