–The first step is admitting it. I am a yeller. Next comes change. Hopefully. Re-training, re-wiring, looking at triggers and reactions, finding creative ways to let out steam without yelling at the kids and letting them take the brunt of my exhaustion and anxiety.
Besides working out more, reading the bible daily, finishing my documentary, doing a triathlon, and going to the beach this year, a high priority/resolution this year is to stop yelling!
I grew up in a house where five kids out-numbered the adults, so there was as much yelling to get our attention as there was to discipline or reprimand us. There was even yelling during celebrations. Loud voices were the norm for the expression of most feelings.
When I became a mom to one kid, I yelled a little. With the second, I yelled more, and after having baby S, seven months ago, my yelling has gotten out of hand. And then I realized, I don’t want to keep going down this path.
In my prayer to God for help with this, I stumbled upon “the Orange Rhino Challenge” http://theorangerhino.com/about-the-orange-rhino/
What a fabulously challenging idea, to parent without yelling. But could I take the challenge of 365 days of NO YELLING??
Briefly, the challenge states that when you feel you are going to yell, you say “Orange Rhino”. And when your kids start to see you are losing it and would love to yell at them, they say “Orange Rhino”. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s not. It suddenly makes you think about what you want. About what is REALLY happening, and you choose something other than to YELL!! (Read more about that on the amazing website if you want to take the challenge. There are worksheets, and tip sheets, and forums to reach out to others, but the main thing is, it’s supposed to help you yell less.)
I started optimistically and lasted ten long days. But then… It was night time, I was exhausted, and my husband P was already in bed, and the baby had just fallen asleep, and I had just gotten under the sheets. Then our 4 year-old came into the bedroom, playing around, whispering that he couldn’t go to sleep. This happened FOUR times, and the fourth time he woke up the baby. He ran to his room and I ran after him, screaming, cursing the frigging orange rhino and telling him that I would turn the closet light out and close his door if he got up again and that I was sick of him getting up and that I wasn’t taking it any more… I wanted to say so much more. But I had to get back to the baby. And I was already filled with guilt. Screw the orange rhino. What about me? Who was going to tuck ME in? Who was going to protect MY sleep? Who was going to make sure I could sleep?
I have learned a few things from this challenge so far:
1. I usually yell because of what I feel, not because of what the kids have done.
2. I usually yell when we are in a hurry.
3. If I just pause a few seconds and literally step back, I realize the situation is not so horrible.
4. My kids are wise and sensitive and generous and they deserve better from me other than the irrational, selfish yelling.
5. I am looking inside myself and becoming more conscious. More aware of the importance of the words that I use with my kids.
The challenge states that if you yell, you start over from day one… I am now on day 3.
I have 362 days left of choosing love over yelling. Wish me luck and join me in the challenge! Thanks to N and A and those who have agreed to join me! We can do it!