Here, each week, we will explore an aspect of positive parenting, a tool or a technique that has helped me in my journey. If you’ve visited before, you may be familiar with my Yelling Less journal. It was a week-long challenge that I undertook in July last year.
Ever since, it’s been a series of management tips for various scenarios. I owe a lot of my gratitude to The Orange Rhino, who was the original inspiration for my journey.
Today, in my own way, I will talk about how I reduced yelling, while tackling one of my triggers.
You know that moment when you are going to yell? Your eyes roll dangerously, your fists start clenching, your teeth are on edge and you feel like throttling something?
So, what do you do next? You yell, right? You expunge it from your system. You take it all out on the unsuspecting victim, your child.
That child can be a few weeks old, five years old or fifteen. Hey, she can even be 25 and drive you insane! The point is, it still hurts. It doesn’t matter what you do and how you justify it.
So, in most cases, what happens is that there is a trigger that causes this yelling. What if we identified the trigger? Would that reduce the possibility of an all-out scream fest?
Trigger : Tiredness
Take me, for example. Over time, one thing that was obvious was that I tended to yell when I was tired. This usually manifested clearly during the sultry afternoons and late at night. I am the kind who is up at 5 am to get things ready for school. The rest of the morning is spent doing household chores, going for my workout, taking my classes and blogging (but, of course!).
By the time it’s 3 pm, I am ready to drop. So, I do just that. I take a quick nap for 30 minutes. All good so far.
But, that’s not the end of the story. You know how they tell you never to rouse a sleeping tiger? (Aside: Why would anyone do that? If they value their lives, that is!) That pretty much sums up how I am, for the ten minutes following my nap. I am an angry, irritable, annoyed parent! If I happen to notice that the homework has not been completed or the food lies unfinished on the table, my lungs start expanding to produce that yell!
Once I realised this trigger, I started working on tackling the trigger instead of misdirecting my anger.
And this is what I do:
- I inform my daughter that I need to rest and she complies by reading a book or keeping herself otherwise engaged.
- Turn off the phone (put it on silent mode) for those 30 minutes, so that I can get uninterrupted rest. This is necessary and do-able. Believe me, we have lived without phones for many years. Half an hour each day will not matter.
- Wake up and splash cold water on my face first. This ensures I am awake!
- I make myself an inviting, steaming cup of tea. The warmth of the liquid soothes my brain and I am far better equipped to handle any stress that comes my way.
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