Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I need to yell less, and more.

I'm going to yell at my kids less.

Now, if you knew me, you might think that might not be possible.  Several people have said that I should yell at the kids more. "Rein in the chaos," is the expression they use, I think.   Make them finish their meals, clean the house, not interrupt grown ups and chew with their mouths closed.  And I am totally going to do that. I totally want kids who are clean, polite, and chew with their mouths closed.  So I will try very hard to yell more about those things, along with not jumping on the couch and not farting on people. Especially the not farting on people part.

I will continue to yell about not whining for toys and crying because you didn't get your way.  Those are awesome things to yell about; it comes naturally to me. I think I might be actually awesome at yelling about spoiled brat behavior. 

Actually, I don't yell.  I do raise my voice, but I fall more into the never-ending lecture category.   I think my kids would prefer me to yell loudly for three minutes and shut up than to lecture, which goes on far too long and no one enjoys, not even me.  I might change my strategy to incorporate poking them with sticks, because that sounds more fun than lecturing (for me) but I'm not sure if that requires tetanus shots.

But there's a different category of yelling I am going to do less, and that is the "stop harassing your brother" kind.  I am trying to raise these feral creatures to be caring, considerate people, and part of that involves a lot of yelling at them to stop picking on each other.  As a child, I wished my mother had stopped my brother and I from fighting more than she did, and as a result I yell about this a lot. I shouldn't. I should let them pick at each other a little bit more.

Here's why:

1. The playground rewards kid who are good with snappy comebacks and clever putdowns.  Now, I am not saying that I want my kids to be mean or anything, but the ability to hold your own when someone else is picking on you is a valuable life skill. 

2. It gives you confidence to know that you can hold your ground and not be afraid.  I spent most of my life running from bullies, and if I had turned around just once, I think I would have been better off.  I didn't have any confidence at all until a friend taught me how to fight in her backyard.  Once I knew how to fight, no one tried to pick on me again.  I developed a confident vibe that kept bullies at bay.

3. Learning how to negotiate and problem solve relationships will serve them well in the workforce, in marriages, and in life in general.  They aren't going to learn how to figure things out by me doing it for them, and it may seem like sharing computer time or deciding what game to play isn't relevant to adult life, but it really is if you think about it.  No one likes to share, not even grown ups.  Everyone wants their own way, even grown ups.  It's easier to learn how to navigate these waters at home with your brother than at your first job.

So from now on, I'm going to let them irritate each other a little bit more often, and build up my yelling stamina for the things that really matter, like farting on Mama.

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