Ranting and Raving

I have a confession to make.

I yell at my kids. 

Some of you may be thinking "Okay, big deal." And some may be thinking "Oh, my GOD! You horrid woman!" And still some may be in the middle of "Yea, not cool, but it happens." And I'm kind of in the group of "Not cool, and it needs to stop."

The other day the Imp was having just a rotten day. She was in a horrible mood and just talking back and being cranky all day. Towards the end of the day Hubby and I were trying, unsuccessfully, to get her to finish the homework she had started the day before and had to finish before she went to bed. It was a nightmare. Ranting, raving, screaming, crying...the whole shebang. And from her father and I, who were exasperated and tired of dealing with the tantrum and the attitude all day, came more demands and yelling and threats and anger. Finally, after going through this for about an hour, I realized I wasn't helping anything so I grabbed the Bug and took off to the grocery store to pick up some stuff. While I was gone Hubby let the Imp cool off in her room for a bit before going in for round two. He walked in to see her sitting at her vanity, looking in the mirror, and calling herself a monster and a mean little girl. When I heard this...I felt my heart break. I have never, ever, said anything like that to my kids...but the things I have been saying, the way I've been saying them, have been leaving scars behind. I can't do that to my kids. I can't raise my daughter to think less of herself like that. She is so smart and funny and kind and beautiful and giving and...she's just a great person. And I think that's where I've gone wrong. I see her as just a child, albeit my child, and not the person she truly is. I need to fix this and fix it fast. I don't want my kids looking back at their childhood and thinking "Man, Mom and Dad were always so angry."

So, I'm going to stop yelling.
I know this is a big change but it really needs to be made. For one thing, I'm not the type of person who likes to do the same thing over and over again without ever getting different, or better, results. Let's have an example, shall we?

Just at this afternoon I've had to correct some physical altercations between the kids. The Bug is only 2 and isn't very verbal, so he inevitably will get physical with his older sister. My old method of dealing with this would be as follows:
Imp: "Mom! He hit me!"
Me(at a shout): "Hey! No hitting!"
*slapping sound*
Imp: "Ow! Mom! He's not stopping!"
Me (getting up and engaging, including yelling and pointing): "I said no hitting! You (the Imp) stop lying on the ground! You know he just like to climb on you and hit you when you do that! Why are you on the ground anyway? Get up! You (the Bug) be nice to your sister! Stop hitting her!"
*more slapping*
Me (at a deafening roar): "THAT'S ENOUGH! YOU (the Imp) GO TO YOUR ROOM! YOU (the Bug) GO TO A TIME OUT! I'VE HAD IT!" The Imp would stomp off to her room and the Bug would scream and holler and really wouldn't sit in a time out. About fifteen minutes later when they reunited the hitting would commence again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

But today, I tried my new "no yelling" method. And so far we have been rewarded with happy playing and sharing:
Imp: "Mom! He hit me!"
Me (getting up and engaging): "We don't hit, Buggaboo. It hurts Sister when you hit her. You need to say you're sorry."
Bug: "No! Want down!" *wriggles and begins to cry and fuss*
Me: "I know you want to get down. I will let you down when you say you're sorry to Sister. You hurt her. Can you say you're sorry?"
Bug: "Yes. Sorry, Sister." *gives her a hug and a cuddle*
Me: "Thanks, buddy! You are such a big boy!"
At this point they were playing well, but I knew I should stick it out and watch. Lo' and behold he smacked her again. I was there to intervene, however, and he immediately apologized to the Imp, gave her a hug (all without being asked!) and went back to playing with her nicely. They are now sitting together in the playroom and I can hear the Imp reading to her younger brother. Dude, sign me up for this no yelling shit. It's AWESOME.

I'll let y'all in on a secret: I used to spank the Imp when she was much younger, before I knew any better. I figured out it wasn't working so we stopped spanking. Things improved greatly from there and the Imp is already a different kid because of the change in parenting we made. I have never been ashamed to own my mistakes. I have never been one to place blame to avoid the painful truth. I admit it, I accept it: the way I have been parenting my kids has not been working; in fact may have been harming my children. I'm willing to make this change for the better of my family. It will be hard...but well worth it, I think.


  1. This post made me tear up. I'm really glad you're so in tune with your kids and yourself that you can see your way out of these "life problems". Love You!

  2. Kudos to you for owning your mistakes, being honest, and sharing this. I now know I've not been the only one...Hopefully all the hugs & kisses, apologies we've made, changes we make, and good days we've had will outweigh the bad moments as they grow up and think of their childhood.


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