There seems to be a common theme among mom’s everywhere at the moment, shouting. Too much shouting, shouting especially at their kids. Maz wrote a post about it today. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago and it was the topic of discussion with a good friend yesterday, how her son told her he doesn’t like her because she shouts all the time. It seems parents everywhere are battling with frustration….
For me personally, I have learned a valuable lesson in the past couple of weeks. Shouting gets me no where with my kids. It gets me all worked up and frustrated and has little to no impact on their behavior. If anything it just makes Hannah scared and Ava more determined to show me a big fat toffee! During THAT episode where I lost my shit so badly, Hannah had her accident and Ava went into her room and on the whiteboard in her room, where I write her little love notes, the latest one saying Mom loves Ava-Grace, she scratched through my name! Viciously scratched through my name.
And I know as parents, this is something we’re all guilty of. We all do it. We’re tired, overworked, underpaid and under pressure constantly. I’ve also found that the time of day when I’m most strung out and when my kids are most likely to act out is during that critical time when I shift gears, just after arriving home, when I’m still thinking about work and trying to change gears from working woman to mother. It’s the time I’m most likely to lose my cool, it’s the time I’m most likely to scream like a banshee and say things I regret!
But…. there was a learning that came from THAT episode.
The improtance of the follow through!
What a brilliant experience that has been. After sending my kids to their rooms and deciding on a suitable punishment. I followed through. And, I told my husband in no uncertain terms that if he broke the rules of the punishment set in place that he’d get punished too! (not really sure what I had in mind there but I pretty much told him he would follow through with me).
So for a week, my kids had NO screen time. Not a glimpse of a TV. Not a minute of YouTube, not a second of iPad game time. No Apps, no TV’s no phones. And we stuck with it. As hard as it was. Stuck to our guns and did not let up on the punishment for a full week. Even though my husband thought I was being harsh. I followed through. At the beginning I’d laid out the details of their punishment and I would not lift the ban on screen time until the punishment was completed, there was no early parole for good behavior. We were following through.
The lesson I learned is that my kids respected me for that. I’m sure it’s a lesson they will forget in time and I probably will have to be the enforcer again sometime in the not to distant future. But for now, the memory of how I stuck to my guns is staying with them and as soon as anyone starts stepping out of bounds and I feel myself start to bubble up and lose my cool, I simply remind them of the week of no screen time they had and that quickly puts paid to any bad antics. They now know that my threats can come to fruition so they don’t call my bluff, they’ve learned the consequences of that.
Will I yell at my kids again? For sure. Will my kids continue to behave themselves indefinitely? Probably not. In fact, definitely not. But the lessons we’ve learned as a family and me as their mother is the importance of follow through. Threats are exactly that, threats when there is no consequence.
So what I’ve learned and the advice I’d give to other parents battling with the shouting is this. Figure out your kids currency and enforce the punishment surrounding their specific currency. For us it was screen time. For your kids it may be pocket money, play dates or a favorite toy. Figure out their currency, define and explain the punishment and follow through.
The results may really surprise you. They definitely surprised me!