Maybe it's the times, maybe it's because I live in California or maybe its because I have read too many parenting articles on Facebook. But lately, it seems that the new parenting no-no is yelling. I often see parenting methods that shun yelling referred to as "gentle" or "peaceful" parenting and I can totally buy into some of the practices taught through these parenting beliefs. What I can’t buy into is when parents shun others for not buying into the same practices. I have personally never been one to label my parenting and never felt like I fit into one particular box. I try to stay open and educated and pick and choose what works best for my kids, my husband and me. I have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, I "babywear", I am in the midst of breastfeeding an almost 2 year old and I don't believe in spanking. However, I am a strong believer in competitive sports, am tough on schoolwork, believe in giving consequences and I yell.
I have 3 extremely active children with big personalities and strong opinions. And let's just say that whole "no yelling" idea doesn't always work with them. I often exhaust all my other options for approaching my kids. I whisper, I sing (sometimes opera works), I come down to their level and I gently touch them and make eye contact. But there are times when I am out of options and yelling is my final go to because it usually works. Granted my children look at me as if I suddenly became a three headed monster but they get their butts in gear.
Some of you may argue that yelling is extremely harmful to children. And yes, there are cases where constant, unadulterated yelling can be damaging and emotionally abusive. That is not what I am referring to here. I am talking about those times when I have told my boys 50 million different times to stop flipping on the furniture and I come out of the kitchen to find one of them in the middle of a front tuck flip onto the couch. Or when I have repeated my 5 year old's name at least 3 times within earshot and he hasn't even looked in my direction. Or when I very clearly ask my 10 year old to go get dressed for his afternoon activities (which has been the same schedule the entire school year) and 10 minutes and several reminders later I find him dancing in a front of his mirror with his school clothes still on and he looks at me with a blank stare. I will even admit to going on complete rants because it is the end of the day, everyone is tired and hungry, my husband has been out of town for a week, I am trying to get dinner on the table, help with homework and I have had it.
I come by yelling honestly. My mother was a yeller. She was a divorced, working mom with 3 strong-minded, outgoing, busy kids. At the time, I thought she was completely insane and she probably was thanks to my siblings and me. It was excessive at times but a lot of the time it was very well deserved. The thing is, with all the yelling she did, she did just as much if not more praising and letting us know that she loved us even when she was angry and, all said and done, she was a great mom. As a parent, I have gained a whole new understanding of my mom. She has always been open and honest with me about motherhood and I have learned so much from her strengths and her mistakes. She taught me to accept that I am not a perfect parent and I don't always know the perfect response to my children. Sometimes that means yelling and there are times I feel I have a valid reason and I stand by it and there are times I feel completely terrible for yelling and I apologize to my children.
I am sure some of you will read this and pick apart my parenting and shake your proverbial no-no finger at me. Trust me, I don't really need you to do that because I do it to myself every night when I lay my head on my pillow and replay the day. But at the end of the day, I have feelings just like my kids and it is not necessarily a bad thing for my kids to see me express my anger from time to time through yelling. Frankly, show me a parent that says they never yelled and I'll show you a real life angel or a bold face liar. So no, yelling doesn't mean I am a bad parent. It means I am tired. It means I get angry too. It means sometimes I react from my gut and sometimes it means yelling was necessary. But most of all, it means I am human.