One of my least favorite things about parenting is the amount of yelling I do. I yell to get my child’s attention. I yell at them just before they hurt themselves. I yell at them when they make dumb choices. I yell at them to be quiet (good example there Mom!). I yell at them to go somewhere else for a minute. I yell at them to clean up, to hurry up, to stop, to go play, to get dressed, to walk. And I don’t really love it so much.
So, why do you I yell at my children? Especially when I am a lousy yeller.
I am a lousy yeller because I suck at yelling. I’m no good at it. When I start yelling, the thoughts stop flowing and my words turn incoherent. Essentially, as I’m raising my voice, I’m getting stupider. Nothing comes out right. I stop mid-sentence, mid-thought, mid-yell, and try to figure out what exactly the punishment is supposed to be for the current offense. I lose my steam by pausing mid-rage, thereby losing my scary, angry mom vibe that I was trying to go for. Because now all of a sudden Mom is just yelling about nothing, and isn’t making sense. She’s gone crazy.
So I wonder why do I yell at my kids?
Because, truth be told, I don’t like yelling and confrontation, or being a bully, or a jerk. I don’t like arguing (despite what my husband might say). And yelling at children? Yeah, makes me feel kind of dumb and like all those things I don’t want to be.
When I was a teenager, I clearly recall a member of our church – who I greatly admired, respected, and looked up to – telling me that he didn’t know anger until he became a parent. And I was aghast! How could someone say such a thing about raising sweet, wonderful children? How could he say that parenthood – the highest and noblest and most blest calling in life – made him angrier than he’d ever been? But, then I became a parent. Then I understood, especially after my twins turned into toddlers and then into preschoolers.
I never yelled at my husband (nor do I now really) like I sometimes yell at my twin daughters. They get me so angry!! Why can’t they just listen and obey? (See my post about being weary in well doing… for our children.) So, I yell at them, something that is totally not in my natural nature. I never picked fights or generally shouted at people while growing up. I hate drama. So, it’s crazy that being a parent has turned me into this person I don’t want to be!
But God gets mad too
And it makes me think about why God would give us agency in the first place (because it’s our children’s agency that causes us all this stress and anger afterall!)? Why would he want His children to have the ability to hate, rebel, protest, and fight against Him? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just make us obedient organisms that sang His praises all day long instead? Why would God want to give us all the opportunity to come to Earth, only to provoke His own wrath, indignation, jealously, and fury? Heavenly Father does get mad. Jesus, the only perfect person to ever live on Earth, got mad! Jesus got mad at the money changers, the hypocrites, and even his apostles. God gets mad! And he gets mad at us, his precious children, who are the light and love and glory of his whole being. The good thing about this realization, is that this means it is perfectly okay to get mad and to get angry (and probably even to yell). Whew!
But, as to why we are blessed to have these emotions, I don’t know. I cannot see into the mind of God, nor am I a religious scholar. But, I bet strong emotions, and even anger must be an important part in refining us into God-like people, otherwise God wouldn’t have sent us to this Earth and commanded us to be fruitful and to multiply, because children can make us crazy mad!
The thing about anger and frustration and disappointment, is that, while not the most desirable emotions to feel, they help us navigate our lives. All emotions do. It is our strong emotions, the feelings of our hearts, that lead us to make good or bad choices. And that is what our life comes down to – our choices, our responses to the emotions of life.
And my response to my feelings of anger, frustration, disappointment, and annoyance toward my children have been less than desirable. While not all yelling is bad, wrong, or sinful (sometimes it’s needed to stop a kid from hurting themselves for example), the way I’ve been yelling and responding to my children has not come from a righteous place. It has not come from God.
One of my goals, one of my New Years Resolutions, is to stop yelling. While all stoppage of yelling, forever, is very unlikely, my short-term, year-long goal is to find better ways of disciplining my children. I want to find better ways of handling my strong negative emotions than lashing out like a crazy, screaming, tantruming child, you know, like the same one I’m trying to calm down from their crazy, emotional tantrum. I want to teach my children how to effectively handle their anger and frustrations, and lashing out at others by yelling, is not such a great example. I want answers to my question of why do I yell? I want to get to the root of my problem so that I can be a better person, and therefore a better parent for my children this year.
If anyone has some helpful tips for me, I’d love to hear them, because I have already yelled multiple times in 2014!