Keep Calm and Carry On: The No Yelling Challenge

Once again I am joining up with a couple other blog Moms to cover a topic that I think most of us can relate to: ‘Yelling.’  Some of you might remember Savannah and Michelle, we linked to each others end of the year Homeschool posts.  You can find Savannah over at Ramblings of a Christian MomSavannah is a fantastic homeschooling mom of 4 little ones ages 5 and under.  She writes about her faith, frugal ideas, homeschooling, yummy recipes, and really all kinds of stuff related to being a mom.   Michelle is also a homeschooling mom to 4 kids and you can find her at Simplify, Live, Love.  Michelle writes about, gardening, homeschooling, amazing recipes, and all sorts of things pertaining to homesteading.  Both are great blogs and honestly, I haven’t done them justice in my descriptions.

My children will yell at each other, and yes I have been known to, umm, raise my voice, on occasion.  (Sounds nicer than yell).  Well, the three of us decided that it would be a good idea to take 30 days and have a ‘No Yelling Challenge’.

Are there appropriate times to yell?  For sure, pep rallies, when there is a fire, or some form of danger.  Sometimes we have a bunch of people over for a BBQ and I’ll raise my voice to get everyone’s attention for grace.  I am not talking about that kind of yelling.

I am talking about the hurtful kind.  When we bellow at our children, when we could have easily communicated the same information just as powerfully with a quiet voice.  One of my favourite verses that I use with our kids is Proverbs 15:1

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

We learned it as a song,  A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up ANGER! I think we all know how true these words are, sometimes it is harder to implement them, but with work we can change.

I wanted to know what my kids thought, so I asked them, ‘Do I ever yell at you?’  Joel, bless his heart, said “no.”  The other kids said “not often”, “sometimes”, “I don’t know.”   I know I have yelled at them, but I was curious to know what they thought.

Probably about 10 or more years ago I was pulled over for speeding.  The police officer approached my van with a smile on his face and said, “Good afternoon Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going?”  He proceeded to tell me I was 21 km over the speed limit.  Clearly, I was in the wrong, and he was the law. He didn’t come up to my van and shout, “What is wrong with you?  Are you crazy your breaking the law you need to obey!”

Now he did hold me to account, my ‘punishment’ was not a ticket, I got the privilege of paying $60 to attend an evening of traffic school.

My point is, we represent the law in our homes, we can enforce the rules without loosing our temper and shouting at our children.

To prepare for this challenge I spent time reflecting and watching what happens when we yell, what leads up to it?  I also looked at times I successfully kept my cool.  I noticed a few things:

  1.  We are more likely to say hurtful things when we are yelling. 
  2. Every time someone was yelling it was because they had lost their temper.  (Again I am not talking about yelling across the yard, “we are over in the garden,” type of yelling.)
  3. For me personally, I was more likely to lose my temper with the kids when I had not had much time with Dave.  Things have been a little tight around here and so Dave has been working more overtime.  I saw a direct relation between time with him and yelling.  If Dave had worked five 12 hour shift in a row I was much more likely to have a moment where I yelled at the kids than when he was just heading off to start his work week.

For me, personally, making time to touch base with my husband grounds me, keeps me sane.  🙂  I think we all have triggers, they won’t all be the same for everyone.  Take some time this week and reflect on what it is that sets you up to yell.  As this is a 30 day challenge, Savannah, Michelle and I have reserved the next 3 Fridays to continue this conversation.  Be sure to stop in at Ramblings of a Christian Mom and Simplify, Live, Love to read their thoughts on “The No Yelling Challenge.”

If you think this sounds like a great idea and you want to join in, leave me a comment and I’ll add you to my prayers as I pray about using a soft response to my children.

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