Thursday, August 14, 2014

Learning to listen and not to yell

I read a fantastic post on facebook the other day from a mom who wrote about being frustrated with how her daughter was acting and treating others in the family, but rather than yelling st her about it, she took a step back, responded to the situation calmly and respectfully. 
There was no big blow up, no yelling fight.
Instead, it was all handled in a calm manner, her daughter took a moment, and eventually changed her attitude.
It struck a chord with me since lately I felt overwhelmed every night.
During the day, Moose would choose to act out. Sometimes due to boredom, sometimes out of jealousy, sometimes because he is 2 years old and that's just what 2 year olds do at times.
I was good at remaining calm early in the day, if I wasn't over tired, but as he continued to push the limits, my patience would start to disappear. 
Before I knew it, I was yelling.
And once the yelling started, that's all that happened for the rest of the day. 
I would yell, he would yell, I would yell back, and Squirrel would start crying which would only aggravate the situation further.
I knew that I needed to change something. Going to bed frustrated every night wasn't healthy.
Waking up that way was even worse.
I looked into things I could do with Moose to help him feel more loved, to help him feel included, to make sure he knew that he still had his place in this family, that he wasn't being replaced. 
I looked into why 2 year olds were destructive, why they acted out and what I could do about it.
I talked to other parents, vented to my mom, tried to get ideas besides "stay consistent" since that little piece of advice just wasn't working.
At the moment I read that post, I decided to think about the way that I was acting, about the example that I was setting by yelling rather than talking to him calmly and giving him respect. 
I realized that I yelled a lot. Way more than any person should ever yell at their child. And I decided that I needed to change first.
I couldn't expect my small child to change his attitude and how he reacted to things when I set a constant bad example for him.
How unfair I had been.
Things needed to change, and that change would start with me.

My experiment began yesterday.
For the first time in almost 11 weeks I didn't yell at Moose once.
Not once.
He still had a couple of temper tantrums, but rather than take it personally and let it get to me, I walked away when I felt frustrated.
We got through the hiccups in our day and were still happy after.
I actually ended my day in a good mood. Not stressed, not frustrated, not on the verge of tears.
I felt good.

Today was day two of the experiment and we added in a new challenge: getting daddy in on the program.
I managed to handle myself and kept from yelling, which was a lot harder on 4 hours of sleep. I'm proud that I am keeping it up s early in the day. It does seem to be helping Moose to not hear the yelling all of the time.
I know that it will be a long process to break us out of our bad habits, but it is a process that I am willing to do to make our household healthier, make our relationships healthier, and teach my boys a better way to respond to their frustrations.

If you would like to read the post, you can find it here courtesy of Jessica of Beyond Moi:

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