When I became a teacher, I found patience that I never knew existed in me. I realized that when I was dealing with other people’s children, I had a new found patience that I wouldn’t have had in the same situation with my husband, parents, sister, or even adult strangers. It was my job to teach them, however, and to show them what appropriate responses were. I couldn’t get frustrated that they weren’t understanding me, I had to find a new way to teach them. I could get frustrated when they didn’t listen to directions, but instead of simply showing them that frustration, I had to better explain what it was that I wanted them to do. I had to explain my expectations, determine natural consequences and be consistent. I couldn’t just get frustrated. When it came to safety, however, one chance was all they got. They knew I meant business and if I needed to yell to get their attention, you’d better believe I did it. I couldn’t mess around with that in a chemistry lab.
High school students are pretty challenging. They are opinionated and test boundaries. They are set in their ways, some have given up on themselves and are old enough to be bitter at the system. It can be a trying task to work with them. I worked in a title I school where many didn’t have support at home, and many of the parents didn’t speak English. The patience I found with my students on a day to day basis astounded me quite honestly. I became accustomed to giving long wait times after asking my students to do something or asking a question. It’s think time for them, patience testing for a teacher at times!
Then I became a mother. I apparently had no idea what it was to be patient. Not really. Your patience
will most certainly be tested when you have a screaming, tantruming, biting, yelling, crying toddler. Toddlers have no concept of what is acceptable. They resort to whatever feels right. And it doesn’t matter how small the issue- to them it is THE END OF THE WORLD if something doesn’t go their way. Not to mention the patience needed to read the same book for the 1,000 time, or answer the same question for the 1,000 time just that day. There are times I am so sick of repeating myself over and over and over again. And then I look at Caroline’s smiling face and my frustration melts away. Patience is necessary and so difficult and so important.
Tonight my husband sat down in a chair. My daughter saw this and decided she wanted the chair. We don’t just let her get her way (since the real world doesn’t work that way). So, when she tried to pull him out of the chair. We both said no, and explained that she needed to share. When she screamed and cried and made a big fuss, we were as patient as can be. We first attempted to calm her down. We then acknowledged what it was that she wanted, and tried to explain why she couldn’t have the chair right away. We gave her words that she could use to ask if she could have a turn in the chair when Daddy was done with it. We walked her through the whole process. Eventually, she worked with us and went through all the motions. She then got rewarded by getting to sit in the chair.
Talk about needing to be patient! A toddler needs to be taught that they can’t react in such a hysterical way. They need to be taught that they can’t always have what they want. They need to be taught how to handle the situation, how to control their emotions, and how to be patient themselves. They need to be taught what it is that they are feeling, and how to express those feelings. They need to be taught everything! So, you can’t simply get frustrated and mad at them. You have to be patient and take the time to teach as well.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t get mad, however, in addition to the teaching (it just can’t be the only thing you do). They also need to be taught quick lessons and that some things need to be stopped immediately. If they are being unsafe, if they are hitting, biting, or throwing things… these all need immediate action. You can’t reason and take time to explain things right away. Sometimes the action simply needs to stop…NOW. They need to know you mean business. They can’t always have 3 chances to listen.
So, when my daughter threw a bucket at me the other day- I yelled. It stopped her in her tracks. When she decided to hit my husband because he was sitting in the chair that she wanted tonight… we raised our voices for sure. Those are big NO’s in our house and simply won’t be tolerated. She’s 20 months old now. She’s experimented with throwing, hitting, and biting for probably about 6 months now (at least). She knows that it is not allowed. She understands without a doubt what we are saying when we tell her to stop. So when she does it now, or doesn’t listen… we get upset and she knows it.
My daughter is in a throwing phase. She does it on purpose, knowing she is not supposed to. When I correct her, she throws more things or refuses to pick up the object she threw. It’s only been happening for a few days. I discuss it in detail in her 20 month update post. I realized that my upset tone was not working- it wasn’t getting through to her. I actually had to raise my voice at her to get her to stop. As I typed up the post I felt a surge of guilt as I wrote out that I had yelled at my daughter.
Today’s parenting culture is all about being so perfect behind the computer screen. I promised myself I would always tell the full story. The full story isn’t perfect. It involves me yelling at my daughter. It also involves me calming her down, explaining things to her, showing her how she can fix the situation, etc. There is more good than “bad” (if you can even call it bad). I could have left out the yelling part, but that’s the real part. I don’t want any other mom to ever read my blog and feel guilty that she doesn’t do things in such a “perfect way”. I want moms to read my blog and feel like they aren’t alone, and realize that it’s ok to not be perfect… because neither am I, and neither is the next mom, or the mom after that.
I was asked the question today- “Did you ever think you’d yell at your children?”.
Before I had a child- absolutely the answer was yes! I remember getting in trouble and getting yelled at. I also yell at my husband and he yells at me (it happens). It is a normal part of any relationship. I fully expected to yell at my child at some point.
Once I had a child- I hoped I wouldn’t. You never want to yell at your child. You hope you can be that perfect mom that is always patient and always does the perfect thing.
Now that I’ve yelled at my child (and no it wasn’t just this once)- I think it was the perfect response, honestly. While it feels weird to say that, it worked. It got her to stop. She needed to stop. She knew Mama was serious. We then talked and worked through it together. I took the time to teach her still. I was patient with her once I got her to stop the unwanted behavior. I didn’t go off on the poor child and have a screaming rampage. I simply yelled for her to stop. Nothing to feel guilty about, and if she does it again tomorrow, I’ll raise my voice once again.
I saw an article title recently “Mom Tiger Will Finally Lose Her Shit on New Episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood“. We love Daniel Tiger in this house. But seriously… Mom Tiger is sooooo patient and never messes up. I love that I get new ideas on how to manage situations by watching this show, but can I just say, I am super excited to see Daniel Tiger’s mom lose her shit like the rest of us!?!? LOL
Part of me is writing this post to think through my actions and reflect. Part of me is writing this post because I felt guilty about yelling. Part of me is writing this post because I’m proud to admit that I am not perfect. Part of me is writing this post because I hate reading blog posts or comments on Facebook threads about these “perfect” moms that admit to no wrong doing ever, and would rip another mom to shreds for posting that she yelled at her child. Part of me is writing this post because of the poor mom that just got ripped to shreds on some pitiful moms group post somewhere. I hope she finds this. I hope the normal moms out there find this and find a support group that is real. I 100% guarantee you that there is not a single mom out there who hasn’t or wont eventually yell at their child.