I’m not proud of it, but I became a shouting mom and this is not what I pictured or want for myself and my children. The problem is that when I started shouting I found it hard to stop using that as a way to get my children to listen to me. The bigger problem with this is that firstly my kids actually don’t listen to me when I shout and the damage is done. Shouting is not nice. I wouldn’t shout at my friends so why did I do it to my children?
I’ve spoken to a number of moms about it, about my mom guilt and I thought I was the only one… but it turns out that I am not alone. I don’t know if that makes me feel better or worse though.
I’ve made it my mission to stop being a shouting mom. This is not the way that I want to deal with my children. I want to be a patient mother that listens to my children and looks after their tender feelings. I want to be a positive and happy mother that nurtures my children.
Here are some things that I have implemented in my life that help me to be a better mom and stop shouting at my kids:
Make A Commitment To Stop Shouting
This is always the first step, without making a commitment to changing a habit it simply won’t happen. It’s not a “I will try not to” – tell yourself “I have made the decision not to shout at my children”.
Make it a mantra and chant it inside your head to keep yourself focused. Ok so it may sound crazy but this worked for me. I had become so used to yelling that it became second nature and my first reaction to any negative behavior I saw in my kids. This needs to be changed and it needs to be constantly on your mind so that you can consciously change it.
Remember That You Are A Role Model
One of the signs to me that I needed to change and right now, is when I saw my daughter yelling at her younger brother. It was like looking in a mirror and hearing my own voice. I did not like the look of anger on her face, her finger pointing at him or the things she was yelling at him. It made me feel ashamed of myself and how can I now reprimand my daughter for her completely inappropriate behavior? It came straight from me!
Children learn from mimicking their parents and other role models way more than from the things that we say to them that they need to do. If I am shouting and behaving badly my kids don’t stand a chance do they?
As much as I would like to push away the memories of my daughter doing that I need to keep it in the front of my mind so that I don’t slip up.
Admit You Were Wrong And Apologize
I am not perfect, no mom is, and just like we try to teach our kids to look at themselves, to admit when they were wrong and to say sorry we must do the same.
If I do lose my rag I go back to my children and I say that I was wrong and that I am very sorry. It actually goes a long way to mending a tender heart. It also practices what we preach and shows our children that we also make mistakes and have to make right afterwards.
Look At Yourself First
Yes your kids are driving you batty, of course they are – that’s what children do. They whine, they fight, they jump all over the couch and they make a mess. Chances are very high that when you get upset and lose your temper it has very little to do with the thing your child did. It probably has more to do with you.
Are you getting enough sleep, are you stressed in your job, do you have too much on your plate? Chances are high you will be able to tick all of these off, but that is no reason to take it out on your kids.
I know that when I am tired and have a lot on the go I am much more likely to shout at my kids. It’s not always possible to make things easier so that your temper is not so short. If you have a new baby and you have a toddler and maybe even more kids there is not going to be any way for you to get more sleep… but just knowing the reason behind your short fuse can help you to deal better with the day to day challenges you face.
Know Your Triggers
Identify what behaviors in your kids rile you up the most. Is it the whining or when your kids start fighting with each other? Also identify when you are most likely to be short tempered. Is it when you are trying to get your kids ready for school so you can make it to work on time or is it when you get home with your hands full and you have to make dinner but the kids are demanding all your attention making even the most mundane task impossible.
When you know what your triggers are and understand them you will be much better able to cope with them.
Make A List Of Alternatives
Write down a list of alternatives when it comes to dealing with your children. You are not going to shout, so what are you going to do when your kids are driving you batty and you feel unable to cope with red hot anger rising up?
When the moment arrives and you feel the urge to shout at your kids draw on this list of other ways to deal with the situation.
One thing that works really well for me is to just stop focusing on how I am feeling and assess the situation. What exactly are my kids doing that is so bad? Very often when I’ve done this and I stop and look at my kids, I suddenly realize I am being a moody old cow and my kids are just having fun. They are not really doing anything wrong, I’m just tired and highly strung and I am struggling to cope with the noise and rowdiness. No harm done.
Take Time Out
If you are still angry and nothing else worked take some time out. Go hide in the bathroom or your bedroom for a few minutes to calm down and compose yourself. Scream into your pillow or whatever it is that helps you to release the anger and irritation. When you are calm you will be better able to deal with the situation.
Lighten Up and Have Fun
So you have a lot on your plate and you are stressed out? Yes I get that, I feel that and I live that every day.
But how important is it really to have supper ready on time? Very often your kids will be acting up simply because you are stressed out and tired and they just want a bit of your attention.
Haven’t you noticed that when you are relaxed and in a happy mood your kids are usually well behaved but as soon as you are highly strung they turn into naughty little gremlins?
So leave the supper and let it be late, play with your kids, have some fun and laugh with them. This will do wonders for all of you. And you can eat sandwiches or something out of a tin once in a while, its not such a big deal is it?
What methods do you use to cope as a mom and avoid losing your cool with your kids?
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Also published on Medium.