Friday, January 6, 2012



Once I heard Gwyneth Paltrow say, “If you raise your kids on instinct you’re sure to screw them up.” Our boys were just babies at the time, so I didn’t really think I was “raising” them yet, but it stuck.

Some of my instincts are great: I know I’m good at being affectionate and encouraging to the boys. But I have another instinct that is not so great, and that is to yell. I don’t go on and on, but I can get very stern very quickly, and it’s loud. At this age nobody seems to care, but I know the moment is going to sneak up on me when I scare them with my voice, and that kills me.

Granted, there are times I WANT them to be scared by my sternness, but not for something like refusing to come to me to have their diapers changed. I’ve noticed lately that Everett gets embarrassed easily, which makes me think he’s pretty sensitive, and I can just hear the “My Mom Yelled” therapy sessions now.

Any tips?


Dear Jen,

I’d be a big fat liar if I told you I never yell at my kids.

My tip for you and for me is to start to recognize what triggers the yelling. My most common instance of yelling is when I am engrossed in a task and the kids interrupt me. In my mind I’ve been patient all day and all I want to finish just one little thing.

When Catina was an infant I went to see a counselor and she talked about the causes of anger. The one I struggled with most is having a blocked goal. In these cases where I’m interrupted, they were blocking me from my goal and they’d better get out of the way!

Another reason I get angry is when I’ve asked more than once for something to be done. For instance, I might ask Catina to pick up her books, and instead she flits about the room procrastinating, which makes me feel disrespected. Greg and I have really tried to limit how many times we request something and if the request is not granted there are consequences. This is something we have learned through reading Love & Logic books and attending the conference. They have some great ideas of how to keep your cool!

I think this is all a work in progress, and it is definitely something to be mindful of!


No comments:

Post a Comment