The morning started off just like any other morning. My alarm went off at six. I got up, got dressed and flipped my oldest daughters bedroom light on and kindly exclaimed it was time to wake up. She started rolling around so I left the room. I brewed a cup of coffee and got the baby up by 6:15. I sat down on the couch to drink my coffee and nurse the baby while I put on my makeup for the day.
Six-thirty rolled around. I got up and told my daughter to and get dressed. Then six-forty-five came and went. I didn’t hear anything coming from my daughter’s room so again I went in there and told her in a much more stern voice to get up and get ready.
By the time seven-o-clock had rolled around I was beyond agitated and could feel my temper boiling up to the surface. I got back up and went back into her bedroom only to find her still laying in bed. She was wide awake rolling around in her bed playing quietly. Normally I wouldn’t have an issue with this, however, we have to be at the bus stop at 7:25 and she hadn’t even gotten dressed yet.
I was at the end of my rope. I had felt like she was taking advantage of me. She had been doing this off and on for several weeks and each morning I would just do the routine for her because I didn’t want to be caught behind the bus which would make me late to work.
That’s when it happened and I didn’t even realize it had occurred until we were both on the couch grumbling at each other nearly in tears.
I had screamed at her. Very loudly. It was awful. I lost my temper on her and it wasn’t pretty.
I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that just felt horrible. It left me feeling like a failure. I had failed my daughter. I had failed myself. I had crossed a line and I wasn’t sure if I could come back from it.
I never wanted to be the parent who yelled at her children, but that had all just changed. I have yelled at my child in the past. Don’t get me wrong. I raise my voice at her when she refuses to listen, but I have never raised my voice to her like I did that time.
After I dropped both girls off at their respective schools for the day I pointed my car towards town and went to work. On my car ride, the unsettling feeling began to creep over me again. I felt sick to my stomach that I had screamed at my child. The guilt was overbearing. Just then the Michael Jackson song came on… you know the one:
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer”…
Michael Jackson was singing to me in that moment and I got the message.
I knew I had to do something to get rid of this feeling. I re-evaluated myself as a mom and came to the conclusion that if I didn’t want to be the one who yells and loses my temper then I had to admit my faults.
So that’s what I did. I admitted to myself over and over again for days while I formulated a plan to change.
To this day every time my daughter does something that escalates my temper I do the following things:
Breathe. I try to step out of the room or block out the behavior. Not permanently, but just temporarily so I can grab a hold of that short temper. I usually say out loud to myself, “breathe Heather she’s just a child”.
Re-calibrate. I change tactics. If I have been telling her to complete a task then I try to change how I’m asking. Often times I will tell her that I am asking kindly and the next time I won’t be asking nicely.
Get on her level. I will walk over to her and grab her hand and lean down to whisper in her ear. This has really been working for me lately. Especially in public.
If you were to talk to my husband he would tell you that I still yell. I believe raising my voice and actually yelling at my child is much different. Sure I raise my voice. There are times when she gets the message a lot clearer if I raise my voice just a little. I don’t see her physically shut down if I raise my voice to her unlike when I screamed at her that day.
There is research to suggest that yelling at children can be harmful to their mental and emotional health. I don’t want my child to ever feel abused. I never want her self-esteem to suffer because I yelled at her. Not all children suffer from negative effects but I’m not willing to take that chance.
Give yourself grace if you do yell at your kids. I admit it that I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life. That doesn’t excuse my behavior, but if it happens then I give myself grace and ask for forgiveness from my child. I own up to it and apologize. This shows her that I am openly admitting to my wrongdoing and asking for forgiveness. These little lessons in life help us to grow as people and if we are willing to admit it then and only then can you make that first step towards change.
How do you deal with anger towards your kids?
Check out the affirmation cards I have created just for you! Use them to help provide gentle reminders throughout your day.
Affirmations for Motherhood
Breathe life into your journey through motherhood with these affirmations.