Keep Calm and Carry On: The No Yelling Challenge – Week 3

Week 3!  How is it going?  Are you yelling less?

I have to say I am enjoying this challenge, it has made me very aware of just how I speak and how those around me are talking.

So we have talked about talking kindly to our children, we have looked for triggers.  Great, but how do we change?

Well, change requires work on our part.  We have all heard “no pain no gain,” right?   If you have already put in the time looking at what sets you off then you are already on the path to changing.

As a Christian I am a big believer in prayer.  Prayer changes things.  I would say that a great place to start is asking for help.

I might simply pray something like this,  “Lord, I realize I do not always speak kindly to my children and that is not the kind of Mom I want to be.  Forgive me for where I have failed and help me to change, help me to respond to my children with a gentle response.  Amen.”

Now let me be clear, just because I am using a gentle response does not mean I am not correcting them.   It just means that when I am correcting them I am speaking to them the way I would like to be spoken to.

I can’t give you a step by step do these 3 things and you’ll never yell at your kids again, but I can share some examples.  We are all going to have different triggers.  Some we can eliminate others we cannot, however, if we eliminate some then we will have more strength to work on the ones that are out of our control.

Here we go, some examples (not all from my life).

  1. I am more likely to snap at the children if I am tired.  Easy fix go to bed earlier.  But, I am up 6 times a night feeding the baby.  Not such an easy fix.  You are going to have to get rest where and when you can.  Two suggestions here, pray about your need for rest, and talk to your husband.  He may not be able to do this everyday but perhaps he can take the kids after you have fed the baby and let you grab a nap.  You are not always going to have a child waking you up in the night , this is a season that will pass.
  2. Mess adds stress, and when I am stressed I scream!!  Easy fix, clean up the mess.  All right, I am being silly there, but again, pray, ask for ideas on how to tame the mess.  Start small, which rooms drive you crazy when they are messy?  Which rooms are you in the most?  Perhaps you spend the bulk of your time in the living room, then start there.  Clean the room.  Downsize the clutter.  Children don’t need hundreds of toys.  Box some up and leave a few, something that is manageable.  Again, get your husband on board.  I get my children helping.  Even our 2-year-old pitches in.  I have one son that loves to run, I call him ‘my runner,’ if we are tidying together he is the one that I will give items that belong in other rooms to and he will run as fast as he can there and back.  Over the next several weeks work at taming that mess.
  3. I have to ask my children several times to do something and even then it isn’t done right, that just seems to push me over the top. I touched on this in last week’s post.  This one often times has more to do with us than it does with our children.  We don’t need to nag, when we nag we teach our children that, ‘it is okay to ignore me until I lose it and yell at you.’  So lets imagine you say,”Bob put your shoes by the door.”
    “Okay Mom in a minute.”
    15 minutes later you notice the shoes are still there…
    “Bob I told you to put your shoes away.”  
    “I’m on it Mom.”
    40 minutes later you notice they have not moved.
    “BOB I TOLD YOU TO MOVE THOSE SHOES AN HOUR AGO, (insert threat here)!!!!”
    Bob grabs his shoes and drops them by the door and they land funny and one kind of rolls in front of the door.  You’re frustrated because they aren’t neat.  What do you do?  If Bob is a little guy, when you first ask him to put his shoes away, wait and watch, if he doesn’t do it right away, go over and say, “Bob I asked you to put your shoes away, you said okay but you are still playing with your puzzle, I’m going to show you what I want you to do.”Take him over to his shoes have him pick them up and walk him over to where you want them and have him neatly put them away.  It is important to make him do the work though.If Bob is a big kid, then sit him down and say, “Bob, I’m sorry I have allowed us to get in a bad cycle.  I let you ignore me until I yell, and that has got to stop.  I know this is going to seem really silly and maybe even like I am treating you like a little kid but together we need to break this cycle.” Then run through the above activity with him.This is going to take a lot of work for both your child and you, but we can make changes.We are teaching our children constantly.  We are either teaching them positive stuff or negative stuff, but we are always teaching them.For me it is the whole, ‘inspect what I expect,’ that I mentioned last week.  We did a big clean up and purge of stuff in the boys room.  I need to continue to go up to their room and inspect.  At bed time I noticed Samuel had a few toys out , I showed him and said “lets put these where they go” and at 2 he was ready to help.  Joel saw a few Lego bricks he missed and was quick to put them away.  After we read the story I told Joel to put the book back.  Often I would over look these things, it is just a couple of pieces of Lego and a book, but the next day it is another book, a few more Lego bricks, and some clothes that didn’t get put away.

These are just a few examples, but you can easily see how you can look at what triggers set you off and apply this.  First pray about it.  Talk to your husband; better yet, pray together about this.  If your children are big enough, talk them too.  I wouldn’t say “when you two fight it makes me yell,” that is putting huge pressure on children and we are responsible for how we act, no one makes us yell, we do that all on our own.  I would say to them, “You know what I have noticed, when the house gets really messy I yell more.  I don’t like yelling.  I want to change that and I think keeping our house tidy will help with that.  Let’s work together to keep it clean.”  If you get the house tidied up and you have a great day, point that out to them and celebrate that together.

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Matthew 19:26  Sometimes the things we want to change seem impossible, but with God’s help we can change.

I wanted to share one other little thing, sometimes we know what we need to do but it takes time for our heart to catch up.  I have had to go through the motions with some of this stuff.  Some of it feels awkward and fake.  Yet as time progresses it will become natural.  I just wanted to share that because I am sure for some when you read this it seems a little… “yah right”… it will feel strange at first.   Here’s to a great week of no yelling!!!

Next week is going to be the last week and it will just be a bit of a wrap up.  Don’t forget to check out Michelle and Savannah’s blogs too.

If you missed it, you can find Week 1 here and Week 2 of the challenge here

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