I have an essay in this month’s Redbook magazine on the week I spent attempting not to yell at my children. The Redbook website has it posted under the heading “How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids,” and I only wish this essay told you how to do that, because then I would read it and maybe learn something.
I did not stop yelling at my kids for a week. I did, however, yell less, and I figured out a lot about when– and why– I yell. (It’s not random; I have my triggers.)
I took this challenge about two months ago, and wrote then– as I was about to begin— that I was a yeller who, at least, felt bad about it. After taking this week-long challenge, and reflecting on what I’ve learned over several rewrites, I think I can say I’m a recovering yeller. Now my kids, on the other hand? The three of them tend to express their every thought at Dora-the-Explorer volume; and as one of my favorite humorists, James Lileks, has pointed out, Dora sounds like she was raised in a metal foundry.
Don’t your eardrums bleed a little just looking at her?
I don’t want to reproduce the article too much here, but these were a few of my takeaways:
–the more I multitask, the more I yell. (Do one thing at a time.)
–the earlier I am awoken, the more I yell. (Go to bed twenty minutes earlier, Mama.)
–the more I insist on adherence to very specific standards, the more I yell. (Quit while I’m ahead.)
How about you? Are you a yeller? Are you trying to cut back? Any tips?