Yelling at a bud, won’t make it bloom

 bloom quoteimage is mine // quote source

 “Yelling at a bud, won’t make it bloom.” I came across this quote recently and it touched a nerve. The reason for that is because I am guilty of yelling at my 2 year old daughter. This confession is probably a common one for a lot of parents (or am I alone?), especially for those who have children ages two and up. But, just because it’s common does not make it right or excusable and that’s not what I intend to do here. I’m part of a blogger collective and this is our third month of writing on an assigned prompt. This month’s prompt is “Bloom” and it’s also my month to be the collective’s featured blogger, so I thought I’d share something real about me, something personal, something I’d like to change and improve and something that I’d love feedback on.

Before moving on, I should elaborate on my recent confession. I do not yell at my daughter regularly or all that often and it hasn’t been until recent that I’ve even really yelled at her at all. When she misbehaves or refuses to listen to rules or directions, I do enforce discipline with a “time-out” but I do so with a stern voice…not through yelling. However, there has been a very recent handful of times where my patience has been tested and pushed to its limit and I’ve let my frustration get the better of me. A two year old is pretty much an expert at doing this.

Mia’s behavior that seems to push my ugly buttons is her incessant crying and/or screaming. It’s not a common behavior of hers (thank God), but it usually occurs when she’s really tired. Like, really tired when we’ve gone too long before getting her down for a nap and we’ve missed our “window of opportunity.” The crying doesn’t stop, it just grows louder and longer. The repeating of “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” begins and doesn’t end, the kicking against her crib rails beats through the house and no matter how many times I go into her room to sternly tell her to “go to sleep” and “stop crying, relax” it doesn’t stop it just worsens. I know that she just wants me to hold her but I don’t want to give in and reward the behavior, allowing her to throw a fit until she gets her way. The other few situations that have really got me in the red were during feeding times where she’d refuse to eat what I was giving her and she wanted out of her high chair without eating. Because I wouldn’t let her out, she’d act similarly to what I described above with the screaming, rocking, kicking, throwing and repeating “Mama, out! Mama, hold you!” I literally became a ticking time bomb.

How I finally erupted was unacceptable (in my book at least). Some parents may read this and think there’s nothing wrong with how I responded and some may not (hoping there’s more of you in the not camp). Well, I finally got to the point of yelling and screaming back at her with words like “ENOUGH!!! KNOCK IT OFF!!! STOP CRYING!!!”, paired with slamming my hand loudly against the table or pounding my fist on her door while entering her room (when trying to put her down for a nap) to get her attention while shouting at her to go to sleep. And when I say that I “yelled” and “shouted”, I mean that the neighbors have probably heard me. I was scary, I’m sure. And the times that I have blown up on her, I’ve immediately felt shame and disappointment in myself. This is in no way the kind of parent I want to be or the kind of environment I want to create for my family. I’m better than that, and they deserve better than that.

Before now, I haven’t blown up on Mia because she’s been too young to communicate her needs to me in any other way than crying, and I understood that. Now that she’s growing up and talking and pretty much comprehending most of what I say, my patience is running thinner for behavior like this. I need to remember that even though she’s more aware now, she’s still only two and that I’m the adult who is supposed to be in control of my actions and my temper. If I can’t handle myself now, how am I going to one day handle two (or more) kids throwing fits? How am I going to handle at least 16 more years of tantrums, poor behavior, back talk, fights, lies and mischief? Like I said in the beginning of this, I haven’t exploded more than a handful of times but I am noticing that the feeling to want to resort to that is poking its little ugly head up a lot more. I know that this is something I need to address now before it really does become a problem. The truth of the matter is that parenthood is a tough, tricky role that doesn’t come with a picture perfect manual and many mistakes will be made, especially with your first born. It has the power to bring out the absolute best in you, surprising you with how much love and awesomeness you have inside. It also has the power to bring out your little demons and flaws, surprising you with glimpses of a side of you that you never even knew existed.

I did a little internet reading to find some solutions on how to keep myself in check and these are some pieces of advice that agreed with me:

  •  Yelling can stem from an issue I have with myself. I’m most annoyed or cranky when I’m feeling sleep deprived, unorganized, scattered, surrounded by a messy house, overweight, unhealthy and when I’m in the house for too long. Taking care of myself (getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right, staying organized, cleaning regularly, getting out of the house more) makes me feel better about myself and therefore helps me to stay calm, which makes me more patient and kind. I’m no good to anyone else if I’m not making my needs a priority, too.
  • Make sure you make eye contact with your child before giving them a direction. Sometimes they’re so involved in what they’re doing that they may not have heard you the first or second time.
  • Yelling teaches kids to ignore instructions made in a regular voice and that it’s acceptable to respond to the 2nd or third instruction given in a yelling voice. To nip this in the bud, discipline needs to be enforced after the first time a direction has been ignored. Everyone’s discipline is different, but being consistent with it (like taking away a toy, putting them in time out, no dessert tonight, etc) will teach them that you mean business and that an instruction needs to be followed the first time it’s given.
  • If you’re feeling your blood begin to boil, take a “mommy time-out”. Go sit outside or in a quiet room to take deep breaths and to calm down before handling conflict or disciplining the kids.
  • Pick your battles. Not all problems are created equal so not all of them deserve to be fought over. Let the little things go. Don’t overreact. Don’t cry over spilled milk. Getting upset over every single mess or setback will only thin your patience and cause you to lose your cool on multiple occasions throughout the day. A stressed out mom will rub off on the kids and only feed the stress in the house.

Since I’ve realized that I may be in the early stages of acquiring a yelling problem, I’ve already changed my demeanor. I’ve made a goal for myself to stop any yelling in the house (unless there’s a fire, which is really the only exception) and to express myself calmly yet firmly. Mia is watching and listening to everything that I do and I certainly don’t want to fill up my little sponge with negativity and stress. I want my bud to bloom from being nurtured with a patient hand and spoken to with a loving voice. I haven’t yelled at Mia since my decision to cease this poor form of communication and I feel so much better for it. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am a good mother, an excellent one actually, raising a happy and healthy toddler. But I am a real mom who faces real mom issues and I refuse to allow them to get the better of me. I am Mom, hear me roar (oops, I mean speak sternly)!

If you can relate to this issue, I’d love to hear about how you deal with high stress moments with your family. Are you a yeller? How do you keep your cool? How do you discipline your kids? What advice do you have for parents who do yell regularly at their kids? Any feedback is welcome.

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“Bloom” is the May writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Misty of Momista Beginnings. A few words from Misty — I’m Misty, the southern California blogger behind Momista Beginnings. I began this blog while pregnant with Mia over two years ago to create a space for mamas out there to connect with their inner “momista.” According to me, a momista is a devout follower and lover of motherhood who takes her role to the next level. She uses her strengths to create the best childhood for her kids through activities, traditions, adventures, exploration and experiences. My blog aims to inspire all of this. Other bits of me make up my blog as well, like my passion for photography, art, crafts, my love for baking and cooking and family updates. I’m an ex art teacher of over 10 years and my art projects for kids make appearances from time to time, too. You can also find me on Bloglovin’, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and at my photography website and its Facebook page!

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

 

Comments

  1. Oh, I can so relate to this. I find myself losing it with my daughter mostly when I’m exhausted and have little patience left in me. I immediately feel terrible realizing she is only a baby and doesn’t know any better. I recently had a moment where I lost it in front of my husband and I felt such terrible shame for letting anyone see that side of me that I have not yelled since (and hopefully I won’t again). The hardest part is knowing the tantrums and such have only just begun (as she is only 21 months old), so i will definitely need to educate myself so I am armed with more appropriate responses for when the tough really gets going. Thank you for such a heartfelt post.

    • Oh man, Jordan… the tantrums HAVE just begun. How scary is that. And I can’t even tell you how relieving it is to hear from other moms that fall into this same trap as I have. Not alone. Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience as well. May all of our hair turn grey and fall out together while we restrain our tempers to remain calm. I mean, there’s just GOTTA be a side effect of this, right? :)

  2. Oh mama, I feel you. Sadly, it doesn’t stop though. My son is 13 and I just had a moment of not really yelling at him but getting really stern and “in his face”. I felt terrible afterwards but I also know I can’t let him just act as he pleases and get away with being disrespectful. Ugh. Parenting is so rough sometimes. We all do the best we can! No one is perfect but we love out kids and try every day to be our best for them! :) You’re a great mama! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  3. Thank you for blogging about such a real issue! I find myself yelling at my sweet 22-month old at times….and like you, I feel immediate shame and disappointment. I plan to keep the tips your mentioned in mind!

    • Gloria, thanks so much for your honest comment. It wasn’t easy to write about something that I’m embarrassed about and not proud of but I wanted to create a conversation that would hopefully help other moms with the same issue. It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone during our darker moments and it’s even better to receive support and reassurance. I hope the tips are useful to you (and me!).

  4. My daughter’s tantrums have only gotten worse since she turned 3 and I try my hardest to ignore them to show her that freaking out won’t get her anywhere. Sometimes, though, I just can’t take it and I freak out back. It happens to all of us. That’s why I’m such an advocate for the theory that happen moms are good moms and making sure that I make time for myself and do things I enjoy, even if it means not always doing what my daughter wants. You have to find that balance so you don’t explode as often! But I mean, it’s realistic that sometimes it will happen. You are clearly an awesome mom from writing this post.

    • Tina, everyone keeps telling me to prepare myself for turning 3, and that the terrible twos are nothing compared to it. EEeek! It gets worse? Great. And you don’t have it easy in the slightest, having to deal with all of the tantrums on your own. You make such a good and important point about being a happy mom. I really do think that’s what I’m missing and failing to take care of. Me. Balance is definitely what I need to find. Thanks so much for your honesty and contributing to the conversation with great advice. I appreciate it :)

  5. Yelling? Guilty! Like you, I find myself snapping when I’m stressed or overtired – just like the kiddos.

    It’s way beyond frustrating when these little people that i brought into this world and love beyond measure just don’t see it my way – the way that keeps them safe, well fed and rested.

    I love the tips you included, and I’ll definitely benefit from them!

    • Thanks for commenting, Erin. I do hope the tips are helpful for me and for anyone else who reads this. It’s such a relief to know that I’m not alone in this. I appreciate your openness and honesty :)

  6. Oh man.. this sounds like a moment that I had recently. There is this inner “bad mom” that Wyatt tends to find when the crying gets to crazy screaming, eyes shut, nothing is going to help crying. It hits me TO MY CORE. I start his crying fit off with an even keel attitude, but I think it’s when I try EVERYTHING, singing, rocking, caressing, feeding, loving… and he still insists on screaming in my ear that I lose it from just being ultimately frustrated. I have lost it; and I instantly felt horrible for it. I screamed at him (a 6 month old baby, mind you) and told him to SHUT UPPPPPPP, STOP CRYINGGG!!! David was outside packing the truck and heard me. He came in and was like I can hear you outside, you are screaming at an infant. What is that going to do?!! I felt horrible, but he had gotten to me, and I just couldn’t help but start crying. Ugh I know I am not alone… but I too need to learn to choose alternative methods when these crazy crying/screaming spells start. Like leave the room. Breathe, until I have gained my composure… Easier said then done that is for sure! :/

    • Oh Kerry, I’ve been exactly where you are. Thanks so much for sharing and being so open about your experience. It’s damn tough, right? I’ve sat and cried over my outbursts, too. You’re definitely not alone. It’s hard to be such a strong person in most other aspects of life, only to be brought down by an infant/baby/toddler! We’re first time parents and I know we’ll get a grip on ourselves. I mean, we’ve already admitted to something we want/need to change and that’s the first step. Thanks again for commenting.

  7. Chrystyna says

    Good job. I did super awesome not yelling at her when she was little because well, she was little. At 6, I’ve lost that ability to talk myself off the ledge. She’s not “little”. She knows better. She knows how to listen and chooses not to. I lost it on her yesterday. Acted like a total crazy Mom on her for like 2 mins. I’m sure everyone that was over thought I had lost my mind :P

    • Thanks for sharing, Chrystyna. Man, I’m impressed that you lasted this long! Maybe you had 6 years of frustration pent up when you lost it. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. And btw, you did lose your mind. All mamas have a little bit of their minds missing. Damn kid has misplaced it with all of the other missing socks, pen caps, puzzle pieces and hair bows.

  8. A beautiful, honest post. I know that you read my recent post where I mentioned that I yelled at Roman for the first time. What an awful feeling. My thoughts on the subject are just the same as yours. I don’t want to be *that* mom. Roman is only one, but I know that he is a very mature one. Even though he can’t talk yet, he is an excellent communicator, add to that I am extremely understanding. I’ve always been able to know what someone wants without them having to say much. Same goes for me and Roman. I almost always know what he wants. (Baby sign language helps us with this, too.) Anyway, my point is that I have yelled at Roman (twice that I can recall) because, I knew that he was consciously doing something wrong/testing boundaries. After the second time it happened, I had already realized that I needed to do something different. And, the third time that he willfully misbehaved, I was prepared. He went into timeout. Now he really is too small to sit in a chair, but for now, timeout is his playpen. I only put him in there for a minute (I like the timeout one minute per year of age rule) but it worked. After the first time I took him out, he repeated his bad behavior. So I put him in again and BAM! he got it. After that (this was almost two weeks ago now) he hasn’t repeated that bad behavior, or he has stopped after a warning.

    Timeout is going to be so important for us, I just know it. We need to stick with it. I don’t care how cheesy it sounds, but I LOVE the show Nanny 911 and I truly believe that those techniques work miracles. And, I happen to know two families with at least two children a piece who used those principles with great success.

    Parenting is hard — the kind of hard that people just will never understand until they experience it for themselves. The kind of hard that makes you question everything. I have to be honest, (in fact I plan to write a post about this soon), but as much as I want to be all “support everyone, don’t judge anyone” there is such a thing as good parenting and bad parenting. I mean let’s face it… That being said, you are an extraordinary mama. There is no doubt about it. The fact that you have identified a weakness and are working to overcome it, well, that only makes you an even better mother than you’ve ever been before. That is exactly the type of role model that your daughter needs.

    This has turned into a novel, but I just relate to this post so much and I am so grateful to have friends like you to share with, the good & the bad. XOXOXO

    • Seriously Dena, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the matter. A sentence or a novel, your comments are always welcome and enjoyed. Before I ever lashed out at Mia, I instilled the whole time-out thing (I still do it) and she responded well to it. I decided (at first) to not use her crib (we don’t use a playpen anymore) so that she wouldn’t associate being punished with putting her to bed. Instead, I would sit her in a corner and crouch behind her while holding her arms in a crossed position in front of her chest with one hand and crossing her legs “indian style” with the other hand…so that she can’t get up or move. In no way am I hurting her, btw. She definitely doesn’t like this (hates being constrained) and so this method was pretty effective…for some time. Now, time out is still not her favorite but threatening her with it isn’t worrying her as much as it used to. My time-out is starting to lose it’s power over her I guess…and it definitely did during the tantrums I mentioned. This is part of why I lost it, because all of my attempts to correct her behavior had failed. Maybe I need to test a few other time-out methods. I used to watch Nanny 911 before I had Mia and I should probably watch it again. I liked it a lot and it would be much more helpful now than then. And AMEN to the “good parenting, bad parenting” point. I agree completely, but parents have tunnel vision when they’re caught up in it. Having been a teacher for over 10 years, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve wanted to yell at parents that they’re nuts for doing or not doing something so obvious. For example, telling your kid who likes to fib a lot that if they feel the slightest bit “sick” at school then they should march straight into the office to call Mom and they’ll go home right away. Well, where do you think there kid ended up within an hour of arriving at school? Duh!

      Thanks for such honesty, support and reassurance. This is what I love so much about blogging…connecting with other mamas and having a place to come and discuss the different faces of parenting so that we can all improve and learn from each other. You’re awesome

  9. Very nice Misty. Enjoyed reading this posting!

  10. Awesome and so true! I only have an infant so still at the stage where we can’t reason. BUT I have, before, left him safely and carefully on the middle of the bed (back when he couldn’t roll) and went in the bathroom where I let our a few very loud screams. I was THAT tired and worn out. Every now and then, I figure I’m going to need to let it out and taking it in the bathroom was better/safer than at the baby. Crazy talk, I know. Anyways, you’re doing a great job! Babies are frustrating and I can’t even imagine the toddler days. Lord help us. ;)

    • Christina, I did the same thing when Mia was an infant. I’d lay her in her crib and would just sit and cry in another room. It was pretty much the only time I was alone and I was facing a bit of that post partum business so stress was high at that time. But, you have to do what you have to do to regain control. Thanks so much for sharing your story and for offering your support.

  11. Omg I so love how you approached this prompt. I have caught myself yelling at Eva all too often lately, especially since Damian has been born. Not to make excuses, but you’re right… I know she knows how to follow directions and tell me what she wants now, so when she whines or acts like a brat I find it very difficult to keep my cool, especially since I’m so sleep deprived right now. I love the tips you offered, and I’m definitely going to try to implement them.

    • Erica, having a toddler with a baby has GOT to be hard! That definitely adds an extra stress to the mix and makes it all the more important to cut out the yelling for the sake of the baby, too. Thank you for sharing your frustrations here, it helps to not feel alone. I hope the tips work for the both of us. We’re tough enough to get a strong handle on it, I’m sure :)

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