I’ve been working hard on not yelling. I’m not a patient person, I’ve found more patience than I ever though I possessed in my parenting journey, and I still occasionally lose it and bark at my children. Especially the older one. And I could sound all apologetic and acknowledge the damage I do when I raise my voice, but I have to tell you, I’m kind of over the judging myself thing. When I feel like a terrible parent I go to Target and watch other people parent. Then I pat myself on the back and go back to doing my best.
I don’t like yelling. And saying something gently three or four times in a row, then yelling, is not a pattern that’s working for us. So I don’t get to three and I don’t yell after four. I change my approach after the first try doesn’t work.
So I’ve worked hard on the rekindling the techniques I busted my ass to cleave to when Peanut was Two: making eye contact, getting down on his level, speaking softly in concise, simple sentences.
But this older Peanut is always on the move, and rarely wants to make eye contact with someone trying to tell him what to do.
So lately I’ve seen a lot of his back, to which I calmly say, “Peanut Cacahuete Naptime: look at my face.” When he’s looking I know he hears, I can use a quieter voice, and the process of getting him to turn around defuses my anger. As Mommy Mantras says, the pump is already primed. When pressed, if I can find a release valve for the top 20% of my frustration, I can get a restart on a tense situation and behave like the parent I want to be.
Yesterday before bath I needed him to hear me about a politeness issue. “Peanut,” I said to a hastily retreating boy. “Look at my face.”
He turned and looked in my eyes. “What is it, Too Serious Mother?”
He knew he had me. His eyes held mine and absolutely danced with his impression of his cleverness. I chuckled and told him quickly what I needed to say. He scooted off down the hall to do what I was going to ask anyway, because the little bugger *does* hear me. He just often doesn’t want to.