So two days ago I decided to stop yelling at my kids.
Now I promise this won’t turn into a stop yelling at your kids blog.
But I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past two days, and I think the topic is kind of important, and I still have some more to say…
The last two posts I’ve written have been shared on Facebook quite a few times, and when that happens you have people who have never seen the blog at all before commenting on Facebook.
And they write comments like this:
But she said 5 of her kids are under 10 …….. 5 under ten. I get all of her reasons that its her not them , buuuuut she said 5 of em’ under ten ….. Plus there are more kids. Unless her life is in shambles I don’t think she has time to be lazy. Crazy yes, but not lazy….
That is a lot of kids… I’d think you have to yell just so they can hear you!
Sure, five kids under ten years old is a lot.
It can create some chaos.
But adding a screaming adult into the mix doesn’t exactly calm things down.
I used to teach fourth grade.
I had a classroom full of kids.
Like twenty plus nine-year-olds.
Do you know how many times I yelled at them to the point that I had veins popping out of my neck, spit was flying out of my mouth, and I didn’t even remember what I said?
For seven hours a day, five days a week I had a classroom full of children and I never once lost it.
And they were never out of control either.
Now think for a minute.
Imagine if you were to stop in at your children’s school and walk down the hallway, and as you did, you heard a teacher going ballistic on your kid and the rest of his or her classmates.
WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?
ARE YOU CRAZY?
FOR ONCE, CAN YOU JUST DO THE RIGHT THING?
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOU!
I AM SO SICK OF YOU!
YOU WOULD NEVER TALK TO YOUR PARENTS LIKE THIS!
If I heard any staff member in my kids’ school talking to not just my children, but any children like that,
fucking heads would roll.
So why is it acceptable for us to do it at home?
And we know it’s not okay.
That’s why we don’t do that shit in front of other people.
That’s why, at a party or at the grocery store or on a play date or wherever,
we do the lean in.
The you-are-in-big-trouble-when-we-get-home (or at least out of earshot) through tightly clenched teeth.
Because we know it’s not cool to fucking lose it on the kids in public.
But at home we rationalize it.
But I have so many kids…
But I’m so tired…
But we are having marital troubles…
But we are in a major financial crisis…
In reality, no reason is really okay.
No matter how much rationalizing we do.
It’s just not okay.
Not to mention it’s not effective and it’s seriously tiring and after you have done it, you feel like a piece of shit.
I don’t expect perfection from myself.
I’m not going to beat myself up if I fall off the no screaming bandwagon.
But I want to be the best mom that I can be.
Just like when I was a teacher.
I wanted to be the best teacher I could be.
I also didn’t want to get fired.
And so, when I was teaching, I was realistic, and I had a plan.
And if I had a kid in class who wasn’t doing well, or who was struggling with something academically or with his behavior, I didn’t just fucking yell at him and tell him to follow the fucking directions and to show some repsect.
I came up with a plan to fix the problem.
Most of the time I didn’t even need one, though.
Because I was realistic.
I did not expect my class to function on its own while I was in another room.
For like an hour.
I didn’t spend a large part of my day trying to correct papers and make lesson plans and create bulletin boards while they sat at their desks unattended.
I didn’t encourage them to watch tv and play on the computer for an hour (or two) so I could get shit done.
And I certainly never yelled at them,
WOULD YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE???
Sure, being a parent and a teacher may be a little bit of apples and oranges.
But not really.
It’s mostly apples and apples as far as I’m concerened.
You are still shaping the lives of children that you really care about.
But what makes being a parent who doesn’t yell a little more difficult than being a teacher who doesn’t yell is that you can’t really get fired.
You are the boss.
There is no principal or dean or superintendent to whom you are held accountable.
There is someone holding you accountable.
And one day,
in twenty or thirty or forty years, he or she will be reading a blog post about parenting.
About parents who yell at their kids.
And he or she will write a comment…
My mother was a yeller. She yelled about nearly everything…
And then, right there, you will have your review.
So before you start rationalizing that thing you are about to scream at your kids,
stop and think.
What is it that you want your parenting review to say?
Because your kids are going to take the words that you allow to escape from your mouth,
and one day,
they are going to use every single one of them to write your evaluation.
And I don’t know about you,
but I’m aiming for a seriously kick-ass review.
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