There’s a woman who used to come and stay at our house from time to time and I really didn’t care for her. She tended to come when life was hectic or stressful and her timing left much to be desired…she excelled at showing up when I wanted to be doing something else or when I feel like I haven’t had any “me” time. She wasn’t a good influence on me at all…she fueled the lies that I did everything around here, whispered in my ear that I’d gotten the rotten end of some deal and that I was owed more respectful and obedient children, a more thankful spouse, and so on.
The worst thing she did was yell at my children. Yes, my children. The ones I love more than anything in the entire world. The ones that I would walk to the ends of the earth for. The very children that give me my greatest joy in life.
She yelled at them for no good reason. She’d yell that the kids had “already asked her that question ten times.” She’d snap at them for asking her to cut their meat, to get them a drink of water, or to help log them in to their Webkinz account.
She lost her temper when they didn’t seem to be obeying over some small, insignificant thing. She even yelled at them for things that were not at all their fault.
I really didn’t like her at all and this past summer, she really wore out her welcome. It felt like she was here more often than I would have liked. So I took control and told her to not to come back. I kicked her out.
I’d like to say that it was my husband being unemployed, my poor dietary habits (too many carbs), lack of sleep due to a teething toddler or some other “outside reason” that made her come to visit. I’d be happy to pass the blame on to any of those (somewhat) justifiable excuses.
I am certain by now you realize I’m talking about myself. I admit that for a long time, I struggled with yelling at my kids. There were times when I felt possessed by this crazy woman and as she stood there yelling at my kids, it’s like I was on the outside looking in. My brain would be telling me “Stop! Shut up! Don’t go any further.” And I thought it was uncontrollable.
Some people would tell me “Oh, it’s just the pressure of being a parent…it’s okay.” But I don’t want it to be “okay” to yell at my children. I don’t want yelling, and the feelings going on behind the yelling, to become “normal” in any way, shape or form. I don’t want to give myself the excuse that “I’m tired” or it’s just “stress” because I see nothing fruitful that comes from yelling at them. So I really had to examine my heart to see where this crazy woman was coming from. What I discovered was that I believed the lie that I couldn’t control my temper/yelling.
Like me, some of you might be saying “But I can’t control it” and I want you to know… I think you can. Let me ask you this…have you ever been yelling at your children (or spouse) and the phone rings? What do you do? I’ll tell you what you do…you pick up the receiver and in a pleasant tone say “Hello?”
Case in point…you just controlled your yelling.
Don’t our children deserve the same courtesy that we show to the person on the other end of the phone? If we can stop our tirade long enough to answer the telephone in a pleasant manner (it may not be a sing-song voice but I’m guessing you don’t yell “HELLO?!?!?”, so we’ll call it pleasant), then I think we can stop yelling at our children long enough to tell that crazy woman who seems to have taken possession of our bodies to GET OUT.
I am challenging you today, as I challenge myself every day, to un-invite this crazy lady from being around your family. Kick her out of your home. Tell her (yell it at her if need be) to take a hike and not to come back. Next time you find yourself yelling at your little jewels, remember the phone secret–that you can control yourself. Take control back and kick that crazy lady out.
For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.
- posted by Donna Venning, who wants to make it clear that this article isn’t referring to the occasional lost temper that’s bound to happen, but habitual yelling that sometimes creeps in to our houses.