Last week, a friend, whom I consider to be a pretty loud yeller, told me that I yell at my kids a lot.
What the WHAT?
To me, that was like an alcoholic telling someone they’re drinking too much.
To put it into context, when she made that comment I was yelling my kids to get out of the street because a car was coming. Apparently my yell was a tad bit piercing. Even still, it did get me to examine my parenting skills. I do tend to yell a lot, even when cars are not involved.
What better way to self reflect than to go straight to the targets of my loud verbal outcries – my sweet boys.
Me: “Boys, do I yell a lot?”
Them: “Yeah. Why?”
Me: “I was just told that I yell at you guys a lot.”
Them: “You do, but it’s okay. We love you anyway.”
Me: “You realize I yell at you because you don’t listen to me, right?”
Them: “Yeah, we know.”
The conversation ended there. I went off and pondered for a while. Then I came back to them and proposed a new strategy, adopted from what I’ve observed their teachers doing in class. I decided that I’d simply clap five times until I got their attention. It seems to work for the teachers, why not for me?
It lasted one day. I felt so stupid doing it and the boys laughed at me. We then all agreed that yelling was the preferred approach.
That being said, I do try other strategies before I get to the point of yelling. They include:
- Asking them to look me in the eyes so they are focused on what I’m saying.
- Counting the three (what parent doesn’t do this?).
- Threatening them (i.e. no iTouch, early bed time, no playing with friends, etc…).
- Or sometimes, I very, very calmly, with a slightly psychotic look in my eyes, tell them that in a minute I’m gonna yell really loudly. This one is surprisingly effective.
I’m open to some new ideas. Anyone out there who does something other than yelling to get their kids’ attention? My voice box could use a break.
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