Don’t get me wrong I am not against discipline. I do not believe that kids need to be let lose to do whatever they want, whenever they want and however they want.
I am among those who believe that I am a steward to this tiny life that God has entrusted me and it is my responsibility to raise this life into a responsible, loving, caring and complete person.
So yes I discipline my children, they are told when they do something wrong and corrected. In our house disobedience is especially not tolerated. But discipline has nothing to do with the ‘Y’ word. Yelling is the worst form of any speech I must say! In the recent couple of months I have realized that the pitch of my voice has especially reached very high decibels. I do it in the name of correction and discipline. But I have reached so far beyond the point of discipline that from where I stand and yell, discipline looks like a dot! Yelling is just a form of venting! Unfortunately my kids do not understand ‘venting’! My kids do not deserve ‘venting’! Most days as I think of how I need to protect my kids from the dangerous outside world, I now think of how I need to protect my kids from ME!
When I expressed my fear and my frustrations, DH calmly told me to stop yelling. Yes! More easily said than done. DH is a much calmer person than me. He does occasionally yell, but it take a lot to push him to that point. As a result I began to feel more and more like the monster in the house! As I started trying to make changes in our daily routine, I noticed a couple things that made the yelling a lot less.
Distractions: We are a homeschooling family and the first half of our day involves some active learning and sit down time. I am the one who spends the first 4 hours with my kids and guess who comes along with me to class. My phone! I think if I were sending the kids to a school and the teacher in the classroom was checking her emails or messages during class, I would be pissed. The past one week, I decided to set aside my phone for the morning hours. I turned off my WI-FI for most part of the morning. The thing with the phone and the internet bringing the world closer, it also brings my problems right to my fingertips. While I love Whatsapp and Facebook, not all messages and posts are fun and if there is conflicts/ arguments/disagreement via messages, guess who bears the brunt of it! Yes the kids! So now during the morning time I turn of my Wi-Fi on my phone. I leave my phone on vibrate and enjoy my one on one time with the kids. School has become easier and calmer since this has started. But more importantly since I am not distracted, Isaac and Ziva respond quicker to what I am teaching them. Less yelling! The past two - three weeks have been especially good! We finish math quicker and there is even laughter at the study table!
Guilt: In addition to being a homeschooling mom, I am also a WAHM (work at home mom). Some days I am unable to get anything done. What with trying to rush around and get school stuff prepared, the kitchen set for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the house half orderly, I am barely able to put in the required hours per day. This brings about a lot of guilt. As I try to juggle being wife, mom, employee and house manager, I end up doing a terrible job in all my tasks. So now I have started outsourcing. I ask the maid to make breakfast and some days I even ask her to feed the kids. Some days I ask DH to help with math or just read-alouds. I order in groceries and supplies for the month or week so I do not have that additional thing on my mind. As these tasks get completed in the right amount of time, no stress and therefore no GUILT. No guilt, much less yelling.
Take a break!: Sometimes the kids need a break from me and sometimes I need a break from them. Usually this break is needed right in the middle of a routine busy morning. It feels like if I could just get this one more page of reading or writing or math done, the world would be a better place. But I am learning to let go! So every time we finish something, I take a break and they take a break. Isaac runs around the room and sometimes flips upside down on the couch. Ziva finds a spoon and starts to play with her doll. It does take longer to get them back at the table and focus on what they are doing, but I have calmer more willing kids to deal with and much less YELLING!
In the past two days I have been able to look at Isaac and tell him that I am not happy with what he is doing. Whether it is disobedience or annoying his sister, I have managed to convey across to him with no words that he has crossed the line and will soon be disciplined. This is not a look that indicates anger, or displeasure or emotional ‘athaychar’. It’s just a look. Our eyes lock and he knows, that if he continues with his actions he will be in serious trouble. Sometimes he stops, sometimes I believe he just wants to test the waters to see how far he can go. I also know from the gaze in his eyes that he is not afraid of me, but he is definitely afraid of the consequence of his actions. No yelling! It is still hard to capture four-year old Ziva’s attention. But I have learned that yelling does not help either.
I know it’s too early to say all of the above works, I will never yell at my kids and celebrate. Like every addiction and every diet, I may crash land to a much worse spot. But I then have this blog to remind me how I had that one week of yell-free time and the joy on my kid’s faces as they enjoyed their time with me.
I do not want my children to tremor in front of me or be afraid of me. I want them to have a yell-free happy childhood.