Sometimes my kids bring out the worst in me. I have wanted to shout, scream, pull my hair, lock myself in the bathroom, call my husband to come home early because I just can't make it. The list goes on.
When my children yell or scream in anger or frustration, I know they have lost control of their emotions. I know that only time will lead to recovery, and I know to not take it personally. For a 2 or 3 year old, too much is JUST TOO MUCH! If I were to yell or scream, especially if my boys were at a high energy level (giggling or crying), they do not know I have lost control, and that I will be able to calm down with patience on their part. They do not know that it isn't personal. What they do know is, "Mama, who usually loves me more than anyone else in the world, is mad and yelling at ME."
I discovered a great truth while apologizing to Jason after I yelled at him, recently.
It is not normal for me to yell, and as soon as I had taken a breath, I realized I had lost control. So I apologized. When I tried to explain why I was yelling, I told him, "When someone is yelling or screaming, anyone, it is because she or he has a problem to work out. It has very little to do with the person being yelled at." This is just as true of a 30 year old as a 3 year old. When we yell, we have already lost control. It will take patience, time, and love to recover.
How do we get attention when we need it? If you are working with a screaming toddler, it seems at first to be our only choice. It isn't. I wish I could remember where I learned the single best, shortest parenting tip I have ever encountered. It takes practice, awareness, and self discipline, all qualities you would like to see in your kids. Here goes:
When you want to yell, whisper.
When have I ever respected someone who is yelling at me? Never. Not once. When have I most understood my responsibility of a serious issue? When someone has lowered her voice, taken control of his emotions, and communicated with me.
While you may think this would never work with your children, try it. If you don't yell often, it is another great tool to have in your belt. If they are accustomed to yelling, you will at least have the element of surprise. Discipline yourself before you discipline your children. They learn more from what you do than from what you say.