Tuesday, February 2, 2010


The topic of Chapter 5 in Beyond Consequences is “Parents Appear Hostile and Angry”. Since I am never hostile or angry this should be easy( who am I kidding)!

Since I am human and do often get angry with my children I had a really hard time finding the words to discuss in this topic in a way that will not have all the trolls coming out of the woodwork and telling me I am bad parent because I get angry at my kids.

I find that my children can trigger my anger in a way that I did not realise was possible until I was parent. I worked with kids for a long time before I was a Mom, I was patient, I was able to stay calm and then I met my boys. They can push my buttons and make angry faster than any small person I have ever known. Before I began to understand the patterns that cause their behaviour to spiral out of control I gave them the reactions they were looking for, the reactions they needed to complete the negative self talk that was going on for them.

My name is J and I am a yeller. I am working at healing from this unacceptable behaviour but I slip, I still yell when I am really mad.

The first time it happened I was in a furry, Fudge had done decided to use the hammock as a bathroom, this was nothing new, we had frequent toileting issues when the boys first got here. But this was different because I watched him make a conscious choice in this case. He choose to be defiant to get my attention, it was not an accident, it was wilful. I completely lost my temper, I yelled at that kid as though he has just burned down the barn. I yelled loud enough for the neighbours to hear me and then I grabbed him by the shirt and dragged him into the house to get the stuff to clean up the mess. I kept yelling, made him clean it up and then probably yelled some more.

He was terrified then and today he is still terrified of being yelled at, not just by me but by any adult. I do to know what happened to my children before they were mine. I do not know what sorts of deep things I am triggering when I raise my voice.

I remember being yelled at as child, I remember hating it when my parents yelled at me. It made feel small and scared.

I remember feeling frightened as a little girl when I was in trouble, yet, I yell at my children. I make them feel small, scared and triggered each and every time I do it.

Yelling sends my sons to a place of panic and makes them fearful. Is that the kind of Mom I want to be? I joke about it sometimes with my friends but really, on a very serious note, I am not interested in being the kind of parent who causes that fear reaction in my children each and every time that I upset with them for something.

Now that I have learned what happens when I yell I make a conscious choices to try to stay calm and regulated when they are frustrating me. I tell them when their behaviour is pushing my buttons and that I feel like yelling at them. I am honest with them when I do get mad and I apologise for losing control. My children have permission to tell me to stop yelling when I do and they also know that I will tell them to do the same if they are yelling at one another or at one of us.

My name is J and I am trying to stop yelling at my kids because they need to feel safe and not scared our home.

PS - In the interest of being honest - I yelled at them yesterday when I discovered that the outside tap had been turned on and left on over night causing the cellar to flood, the pipe to freeze and the tap to be broken. I did not stay calm and even the usually even keeled P yelled… I can try as hard as I can to stay regulated and calm but I think I will always have my moments because sometimes boys will boys and I will have more Stellar Moments.

For the next 10 weeks I will be writing an article once a week on the theories that you can find in Beyond Consequences Volumes 1 and 2. Heather is offering a online parenting course that elaborate on her book and I am lucky enough to be participating. If you are interested in participating you can find more information on her website.


Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

IMO, if something causes many thousands of dollars of damage you have permission to yell. Humans do that. It happens.

Ya know, yelling is never my goal. But I have to say, there are times, when I have been hit in the head with the hammer minute by minute for days, weeks on end and I blow. It is going to happen.

BT said...

It is so true that yelling at our hurt kids makes them feel scared and small. (I was yelled at as a kid, and it made me feel that way too, and I wasn't even a traumatized kid.) It took me too long to realize this to the full extent I needed to. I'm like you -- lots of pre-parenting experience with kids that never tried my patience or triggered angry reactions in the ways that my own kids do. And I did plenty of yelling for the first couple of years we had our boys. But it really just did not work with them. And I am not sure it ever accomplished anything when my parents yelled at me. I now make a real effort on this front, but it is so hard. Sometimes when I get that urge to just unleash on our boys, I try to remind myself that I can choose to set a good example in that moment. But I am seriously not sure how I would have conducted myself in the face of that outside faucet being left on.