I have come far. I used to get so mad at my kids, it would scare me – and them. I would yell and throw stuff and just pitch a serious adult size tantrum. Getting mad wouldn’t be a daily occurrence, but would be after days or weeks of not being on top of my game as a mom, being sucked into kid drama, of not taking care of myself, of being alone with the kids while my husband traveled, of fed up with the kids not listening to me…of having, what felt like, zero control over my family….the ultimate stress reaction was to loose it.
I hate yelling. It never helps. It only makes me feel like a crap mother and my kids end up shrinking fearfully into dutifulness. They may ultimately do what was asked of them, but at a super high cost to both of us. And I don’t think I am alone – I think a lot of mom’s are often (at least once a day maybe ladies!?!) at a loss about what to do to create a family life that works, that flows. Kids have a tendency to rock the boat of harmony and unless you are AWAKE and conscious of what is happening on the outside and your reactions to it, you will get sucked into the abyss of kid emotion and turmoil.
So why do we yell?
Well, on the level of energy, we have gotten hooked. We unconsciously get taken (like a wave) with the negative emotions that are children are having. Instead of standing anchored to who we are, to our role as mother and act from a place of grounded intuition, we merge with their energy, we become one with it. This ends up feeling very chaotic! We can’t see straight, our emotions surge as a way to FIX the situation and we yell as a last resort to being heard. But no solution is ever found on the same level of the problem! We can’t actual fix the situation (bring in peace) when we are swimming in our kids emotional soup!
Eckhart Tolle says in his book Practicing The Power of Now, “The ego believes that through negativity (in this setting, anger) it can manipulate reality and get what it wants. It believes that through it, it can attract a desirable condition or dissolve and undesirable one.” He goes on to say that although we think negativity works, it never brings out a desirable outcome – instead of dissolving an undesirable situation, it keeps it in place.
We use anger as mothers, because we know of no other recourse, no other approach that carries with it the same kind of authoritarianism – that carries with it the same kind of impact.
But loosing it doesn’t feel good and I want to feel good and proud of myself as a mother. I want to find new and creative ways that will instill good behavior in my children. I want to be the kind of mother that they remember as inspirational, kind, strong, decisive, playful, clear in my words, respectful and most of all LOVING in all that I do. I love this quote…
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29
So what do we do different? Below are a 3 tips or strategies that have worked for me. It is about finding the peaceful approach that feels good and gets the job done. All mothers are different, all kids are different, but human energy is the same. Try some of these out yourself and see the impact.
- Practicing stepping out of the “doings” of my life and into the observer role all the time with my kids. Watching how their energy impacts me. This puts me in the drivers seat of how I react and deal with my kids. For example, when they meltdown after a long day at school, instead of being disappointed or irritated at the behavior, I can SEE that it is about exhaustion and I know that for my daughter, a snack and either time in her room by herself with her dolls or a quick swim in the pool is what she needs (instead of a mad mommy). I don’t get triggered, I just step up to the plate to help her get back to feeling good.
- Get down on their level. Instead of yelling directions up the stairs or asking a million times for the kids to do what they are told, I go to them physically, get down on thier level and calmly state my case. This works really well with my little one. When I bend down and calmly tell him what I expect of him at this moment, he drops what he is doing and does it. A little miracle…
- I expect positive behavior. I have caught myself on a couple (maybe more…) driving to pick up the kids from school and expecting bad behavior. And do you know what I get? Bad behavior from the kiddos. When I expect good behavior, I don’t always get it right off the bat, but what I do get is a different energy emanating from me – a calm, peaceful, happy, stable energy that they feed off of and in a matter of moments, peace reigns again in the car. In a moment of distress once, I asked my daughter….”What do you want from me!!!?” she said “POSITIVE ENERGY Mamma!” Wise words…made me stop in my tracks. They need stable energy from us in order to make sense of their own emotions. If we slide down that slippery emotional slide with them, they feel unsafe and emotions often escalate.
For more about this tendency read this NY Times article – For Some Parents, Shouting is the New Spanking.
Try a new approach today and see how good you ALL feel! ♥