I took a break over the summer from hosting the Sunday Parenting Party and I'm sorry if I let you guys down when you came looking for it. I'm back, and I'm sharing an awesome week I had last month.
(Goblin is nearly 4)
I'm a yell-a-holic and I haven't yelled in 7 days
(Before you get too excited I wrote this post last month and since then I have had to reset my yell-o-meter several times. At the time of pressing publish I am back on less than a day without yelling - but the fact I managed 7 days in a row gives me hope)
Over the last few months I've been feeling my relationship with Goblin becoming more strained. I'd been blaming it on his increasingly forceful behaviour. And it had led to days when I wasn't enjoying being a parent very much. I could see Hublet going down the same route and there were days that felt like every interaction we had with Goblin were ones of frustration. Were both lost the ability to talk kindly to our son when he transgressed.
When you are stuck in a rut, often you can see you are there but the edges look too steep and you can't work out how to get out. That's where I've been - hence the series of rather negative posts recently.
But then I read something encouraging. I read that the Orange Rhino yelled at her kids.
The Orange Rhino is a woman who has decided to stop yelling and she has put a whole bunch of strategies in place to help her. I have known about her for around a year but quite frankly she sounded too good to be true. She sounded so successful that her achievements were entirely unobtainable to me. I assumed she just wasn't such a yelly person to begin with and that is how she had managed to do so well.
But then a miracle. After over a year of the Orange Rhino not yelling at her kids she transgressed and yelled at them. I read about it on my Facebook feed and was amazed. This was the chink in the armour that I needed to see, to help me realise that maybe I too can stop yelling.
So I've decided to give it a go.
I started by observing what it was that triggered my yelling. Mainly it was:
- Trying to get Goblin to do things to my time table - like getting dressed
- Him not listening, or not acknowledging he has heard
- And me being tired and hungry
Lets deal with them in order of achievability:
The tired and hungry are things I just need to keep an eye on. It's tricky when in trying to diet because I'm often hungry, but if it gets to a tipping point of effecting my mood I choose food over losing my temper - and I'll just have to stick with bigger jeans.
Working to my time table I have dealt with by assessing why I put that time table in place. Often I haven't communicated the need to Goblin. And sometimes there is no need, I just arbitrarily decided I wanted him dressed by x time. So I have tried to step back from that and not expect him to conform to my abstract desires. I have built in extra time to transitions and if we are genuinely in a hurry I offer more help.
The not listening. Hmmm! This is a work in progress. It's not that he isn't listening to instructions. It's not listening full stop. "Goblin do you want to stay in the bath or get out?" No answer. Ask again, no answer. "If you don't give me an answer I will assume you want to get out". No answer so I pull the plug out and he melts down. OK what?
I have tried to employ some positive listening techniques like getting down to his level. Turning off distractions. Standing in his eye line. But sometimes I still get no response. The only thing that helps me not get frustrated by this and want to yell at him, is lowering my expectations.
So I've stopped expecting him to hear, understand and answer. It's easier than you think. You just accept that your child is too young and your expectation is obviously unreasonable or they would be doing it already. I don't know if this is the correct approach, but it stops me getting so frustrated that I blow my stack. So for now I'll use it.
So wish me luck.
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