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Is Your Yelling Falling on Deaf Ears?

Is your yelling falling on deaf ears?  I have to admit that I had to realise that all my yelling was simply falling on deaf ears.  I have to share with you that for ages all I felt I was doing was yelling at my children and still nothing changed.

Have you ever been in your child’s school and you hear teachers yelling?  Teachers have a challenging job but when are they also going to realise that children pretty much tune out.

I felt horrible at who I was becoming as this was far from how I dreamed how I would be as a mother.  This was also was not how I wanted my family home to feel emotionally and spiritually and the girls were always on edge wondering if I was going to yell at them.  How could I possibly build a relationship with them if they were scared about how I would react?  I have always said I want the girls to be able to come to me and tell me anything. But how could I do this if they are always worried about my reaction.

I became mindful of my own emotions when I felt the urge to yell at them.  Once I became in touch with my own emotions, I take a deep and remind myself that yelling helps no one and I approach it with a “what’s up?”.  Then I can hear from my girls perspective what is happening and the more that I did that, I saw situations from my girls shoes.  It is amazing what you can learn from stepping into your child’s shoes as problems are easily solved.  If problems are constantly solved, their unwanted behaviours also diminish.

People convince themselves that yelling does not hurt their child because that is what we are lead to believe in conventional wisdom.  Conventional wisdom in behaviour management is passed down from generation to generation and we really do not question it.  But let me be very clear is that constantly yelling at your child does hurt them emotionally and you are destroying your relationship with them.  It also affects your own well being.


I Don’t Like Writing!

I Don't Like WritingI don’t like writing!

How many times have you heard this?  I hear this quite often especially from Emma.  It is school holidays in Victoria, Australia and Emma brought home a letter writing sheet to do.

I did all the warnings before saying that we were going to do the sheet and prior to completing the task she was looking forward to doing it and she kept reminding me that she had not done it yet.

Nevertheless, today was the day and goodness I copped the “I don’t like writing” both barrels.  She threw herself under the table and just started saying “NO I’m not doing it.”  I took the tact of reminding her that her writing is lovely and I searched for examples of how neat her writing actually is.  She has had lots of help from her Occupational Therapist and we do it also at home.

She got up on the chair again, looked at the work and yelled “I don’t like writing.”  She proceeded to throw the sheet and pencil and gave me an angry look.  I thought to myself “no I am not going to reprimand her for throwing things” and just said “what is up?”  She looked at me with daggers and said “I don’t like writing” and she went and curled up on the small trampoline.  I watched her heavy breathing and debated to leave it or keep going.”

So I asked her “what are you having difficulty with (in regards to writing)?”

Her reply:  “I can’t write the letters.”

So then I asked “Is it that you don’t know where to start the letters?”

She gave me the mum don’t be stupid look and yelled back “I don’t like writing!”

We sat there for about 30 seconds in silence and all I could hear was her hard breathing.

Then I said “what do you need”

She then said quite calmly “I need Jessie.” Jessie is our Golden Retriever.

I then asked her “Will Jessie help you to write or calm down?”

She said “to calm down”.

Now I do not know who is harder to call to come here, the girls or the dog.  Ten times she had to be called.  So then Emma then spent some time patting the dog.  Then she was willing to get back up on the chair. Emma commenced doing the writing task and then threw the pencil again. “I don’t like writing” she yelled.

I asked her “what is hard?”

Emma replied “I can’t do the lower case letters.”

By the end of the first line, Emma gained her confidence and completed the sheet and was happy with her work.  She even showed Dad when he arrived home.

Instead of imposing adult consequences on Emma which I knew were only going to make things worse, I simply started asking her questions to find out what was causing the behaviour.  I already knew that she could do it as even her teacher made a comment to me about how neat her writing had become.  But I needed Emma to voice what the issue is.  Together we helped each other through the task and both of our needs were met.  Emma completed the task and for Emma she was proud with her work.

She had to complete the other side as well and when I said it was time to do the task off she went and completed it.  There are always reasons for behaviours and instead of assuming what the problem was from an adult perspective, I had to find out what was so hard from her perspective.