Have you heard of the Orange Rhino challenge?
Basically, a mom of four boys felt guilty that she yelled at her kids so often. So she decided to challenge herself to no yelling for 365 days.
As part of the challenge, she first defines what yelling is and then tracks her yelling for a week (looking for her triggers).
Superman doesn't think I yell too much. But I'm uncomfortable with the amount of yelling I do. And really, her blogpost about 10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at My Kids really hit home with me...(I cried while reading it). Especially 5. Yelling doesn't work. Because as good as it can feel to let all of my frustration out in that moment, it rarely actually works, usually makes the situation worse (i.e. kid collapses into crying fit on the ground), and/or just makes me more mad and/or guilty feeling.
So I am taking the challenge.
I started yesterday, Wednesday March 27, 2013.
I didn't yell all day.
Since starting the challenge almost 24 hours ago, I have twice stopped myself from yelling.
The first time was during dinner last night. Neither of my boys like sitting at the dinner table. They like to stand up. And bounce around. And dance pirouettes. And constantly run to the bathroom.
Usually I'll ask them to "please sit down" an average of three times before I start yelling. Last night I was able to mostly keep them in their seats by using the veiled threat of "You know, the first thing you have to do in a karate class is learn to listen to your teacher. Because you can't learn karate if you aren't a good self-manager and do what the teacher asks you to do when they ask you to do it." (They really want to take karate lessons.) It mostly worked.
Then, this morning was going really well until Thing 1 spilled his cup of orange juice all over the coffee table. The spill itself isn't what bothered me. Spills happen. It was that he didn't clean up the spill. He let it sit there as I asked him over and over again to get a towel and clean it up (while I was making my own breakfast and packing my lunch in the kitchen). Finally the alarm went off to get jackets and backpacks on for the bus, so I ended up toweling up the spill while telling him how disappointed I was that he didn't take responsibility and clean up his own spill. He wasn't phased by this at all.
I was proud of myself that I didn't yell "THIS IS RIDICULOUS! YOU HAVE SAT ON THAT COUCH FOR 5 MINUTES LOOKING AT THAT SPILLED JUICE! GO GET A TOWEL AND CLEAN IT UP NOW!!!" But I'm not proud that in the end he still didn't clean up his spill or have any degree of responsibility for his action.
This is really what I see to be my biggest obstacle to overcome. I yell because my kids don't listen. I yell because I get frustrated and angry when I feel like they ignore me. But HOW do I get them to listen?? While I'm trying to stop yelling, I really need to find ways to get them to be better listeners.
Because really, it is not that hard to clean up a little spilled juice. I really don't feel like I'm asking too much of my 5 year old to clean it up himself.