Yesterday morning Adora posted in facebook "Any yellers in da house? Read this! A mum has challenged herself to A YEAR to no yelling! She's not only done it, she's now at day 442! !", then she shared the Orange Rhino's Alternatives to Yelling list. The Fun Alternatives made me smile because I did some of the things when DinoBoy was not in the mood for negotiation or have no intention of backing down from an issue.
Then it strikes me that I have not yelled or raised my voice at DinoBoy for close to a month! Wow! Great job Me!
Well, we aren't the best parents on earth and we know that there are others who are a million times more patient, more gentle, more understanding then us. How can one still speaks softly and patiently to a child who has her eyes set on that toy on the shelf, that she can't have it, period. Even when the child is on the verge of having a meltdown and is starting to scream/whine/cry? I tell you, I can almost see a halo shining so brightly above that parent's head. Angel I am definitely not and I have unleashed my devil self umpteen times till I was numb, I was only feeling tired and dejected. Plus DinoBoy has been giving me difficult times since last year; I blogged about it here recently, I was ready to snap and yell at any given opportunity. I wore the frown unknowingly on my face for so long that my beautician mention that there are 2 faint lines in between my brows. That made me conscious of my facial expression and many a times I caught myself in the mirror with a frown, even though it was a good day and I was not feeling stressed up or unhappy.
Until recently I have adopted a brand new approach, which you probably read about it in my earlier posts, when I'm dealing with DinoBoy, it has definitely paid off and the result is obvious. Of course there are still days where he challenges us, before I lashed out on him with my tongue and anger, I take a deep breath to calm my nerves.
"How did you do it?" Irene asked me.
My temper was known to be fast and furious to some. so it took a lot of determination and self control not to lose it. For a start, I guess its because I have only one child to deal with, a 7 year old who understands better and follow instructions/requests faster, that makes the job easier. I cannot imagine if I have to handle 2 or 3 kids, but keeping faith in my new parenting approach I may be able to handle it.
I read in a parenting book (forgot which one) that as a parent, we should never get pulled into an argument with a child, because you would have lost the battle the minute you stepped into that zone. How did you lose the battle? Regardless the direction the battle ended, the results negotiated or not it is usually not the answer to the problem initially. You either give in to the child's demands, which can sometimes be unreasonable or you barked a string of commands/threats to make the child behave. Problem solve right? But look at both parties, at least one party will be feeling hurt, sad and unloved; and add in guilt in the equation on the parent side.
So instead of yelling, what did I do?
I try to turn every thing funny. I nagged funnily, I distract him by saying funny things, I warn him in a funny way, I whisper in his ears funny things. All these got him laughing, and laughter lower the anger level. Depends on the intensity of his anger or unhappiness, sometimes I have to try a few times before I manages to bring the level down to 3. For a very intensive anger when he has calmed down to that level, I will asked him if he is feeling better? Request him to take a deep breath to let out the remaining frustration, we hugged tightly, I gave him a big kiss before we continue from where we left off before the meltdown. After he had calmed down, we negotiate or talk about the situation calmly and find the best solution together.
Having said that, I must also mention that we have taught DinoBoy the calming down method; 3 deep breathes since he was around 3-4 years old. I always managed to catch the cue that he is feeling upset and requests him calm down. I will tell him "You are feeling frustrated, calm down first." and he will take 3 deep breathes. This does not work if he has already exploded though, and recently I found that by hugging him tightly I will make him calm down faster.
No anger or unhappiness means there are no needs for me to yell. Each requests or instructions are answered quickly and rarely a need for me to repeat them to DinoBoy. And this cheeky boy sometimes try to "defy" my instruction just to make me glare at him, then he breaks out in laughter and say "no lah Mum! I bluff u!" and zips off to do the task.
And because I do all the funny things and say the funny stuffs, DinoBoy always exclaims "Mum! You are sooooo FUNNY!"
Well better a Funny Mum then a Yelling Monster right?
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