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.