Early in the lock-down, I realized that I had no area in my house to “take” my yoga class. Work was from home, college was from home, high school was from home. I just needed a little slice of floor where I could reach, stretch, breathe, release and repeat. As the weather started to warm up, I moved to my back patio expecting the trees and the grass and the bugs to join in my moment of peace and normalcy.
Finding My Space
That’s when at eight o’clock every morning my heart would break. The yelling of a near-by mama overwhelmed by the circumstances would begin. The words and tone caused my Namaste mind to shutter. And remember…
I was that mom some days. Many days ago. Homeschooling four different grades with four amazing children who didn’t exactly act like robots to my every command I would lose control of my voice. My great lie was that if I increased the volume, their behavior would change. In actuality we all just ended up crying or yelling more or just quitting all together.
Finding My Inside Voice
Why do we yell? I wasn’t really raised in a yelling environment although I would pull the “don’t yell at me, Mom”defense when her voice was raised a bit. In a fascinating article in Psychology Today, the author summarizes that we yell in reaction to fear, stress, or lack of control. We get loud to force the other person into submission or to make them listen to what we have to say.
If there ever was a time that most people feel out of control, fearful, and stressed, it is now. We are not living in our comfort level. Our lives have had to stretch and grow and redefine in every way possible so I can see why the volume in many homes has increased.
According to the research in the prior mentioned article, children raised in yelling environments have a higher probability of developing psychological issues and conditions, including behavioral issues, anxiety, stress, and depression.Yelling seldom eliminates the problem or alleviates the issue. And rarely does yelling inspire, motivate, or stimulate positive actions.
How can we control our volume?
As adults, old habits die hard. Yelling is not communicating. It rather encourages children to shut down instead of listen. We must realize that yelling is more about you than it is about your child’s behavior. In a Today’s Parent article, I have found these tips helpful to quiet the inner turmoil:
- Know your triggers. Address what causes you to lose control and be proactive. If you are always late, set up the night before. If you get angry at messes, eliminate and downsize. Addressing the issues ahead of time can make everything go much smoother.
- Use it as a teaching moment. If you do start yelling, once cooler heads prevail, use the moment to talk it out with your child (if they are the appropriate age). It’s always important for you to mirror healthy reconciliation to your child because they are going to have to learn how to be adults too.
- Know what is normal for a child and adjust your expectations. Who knows how a child will act during a pandemic or when school is suddenly shut down? We as adults don’t even know how to act. Realize that behaviors can stem from so much more than just rebellion.
- Take an adult time out. Step away safely so that you can calm down and readjust your mindset. Take a deep breath or two. Evaluate the situation and try again. Here’s a good attitude adjuster during this recent crisis https://thewespot.com/i-dont-have-to-save-the-world-today-and-neither-do-you/.
On a cheerier note, yelling can be good too. If not done in anger, yelling positive feedback at sporting events can encourage players. Yelling to remove someone from immediate danger can be a life-saver. And yelling can ultimately be a cultural expression of joy and love.
React In Peace
Ultimately, how we react to our current situation as adults can help or hinder our families’ reaction. I have been sad that schooling at home caused so much stress for a mom who was thrown into this uncomfortable situation.
We are all trying to find our little space to decompress. Remember, we are all resilient. Kids can handle seeing their agitated as long as it’s followed by a time of cool down and reconciliation with hugs and working it out.