For years I was convinced that my children were making me yell. I thought that the talking back, not listening and misbehaving was the source of my frustration and anger.
However, once I started doing some introspection and soul-searching, I became aware that these feelings that I was having, and more importantly the reactions I was having were about me.
I remember the ah-ha moment when I realized that it was going to be easier to work on my stuff and control my behavior and emotions than it was to try and change and control my children’s behavior.
I breathed a sigh of relief!
Trying to control my children and manipulate their behavior was EXHAUSTING, and it never worked the way I wanted it – in fact, it usually backfired, and I was SO tired of the battles and trying to be on ‘high alert’ so we could avoid a fight here or a meltdown there.
When I had my OMG this is about me ‘epiphany’ – my awakening – things started to naturally transform.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t without work, it took a lot of work, but I no longer had to worry about everyone else, and that took a HUGE burden from me, and I had more energy to heal my wounds and do my inner personal transformation work.
Are you still convinced your child is making you yell?
If you are, that’s ok.
In those two blogs, I shared how our unmet needs are one reason we yell and how our unrealistic expectations and agendas (with a dash of control and perfectionism added in) is another reason we yell.
The third reason we yell has to do with boundary violations.
What is a boundary?
A boundary is a limit or rule that we create, depending on our family values, to keep our children safe and healthy and that support their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
They are meant to support and protect them, but not confine, restrict or create fear.
Yelling is often activated by either not having clear boundaries or not being able to hold the boundary or limit.
So often we say ‘no’ to our child, but because we have given in before (not held the boundary) we have taught our child that everything is negotiable.
When they push back or ignore us, we get upset.
When we aren’t sure whether this rule is in ‘stone’ (non-negotiable) or in ‘sand’ (flexible depending on the situation), it makes it hard to respond to our children with consistency and feeling grounded.
We then feel resentment, frustrated and powerless.
Developing the ability to hold the boundary and remain firm reduces yelling and will create more confidence in your parenting.
And when we look at this area at a higher level, we are in the realm of your spiritual well being, a little of the physical as well but this is about being in your power, parenting from your intuition and your inner wisdom.
Being able to create boundaries, holding them and recognizing at the moment how you might be sabotaging yourself are all examples of skills that will help you feel more confident in your parenting.
This is where tapping into your power and spiritual well-being are essential.
When we’re wishy-washy about holding limits or aren’t sure of what the rules are, it’s hard to enforce them. Situations like electronic time before homework, not taking care of personal hygiene or healthy eating can be things you want to create rules for.
Every household is different, and depending on your child’s needs they will vary. Rules are in place to be like a container for your children where they feel supported and secure.
They are meant to keep them safe and healthy and protect them but not confine and create fear. Creating rules can be harder than you think, so spend some time thinking about what will serve you and your children best.
If you think that lack of boundaries is your primary source of yelling, then take some time to look at what’s important to you and your family.
Decide the rules that are ‘in sand,’ meaning they are somewhat flexible and can be modified or adjusted as needed.
Then discuss the ‘in stone’ boundaries that are firm and that you commit to holding no matter what.
In general, I recommended that you only have 2-3 stone rules for things such as personal safety and hygiene. Remember the more set in stone rules you have the more you must monitor and enforce them.
If brushing teeth before bed is a set-in-stone rule then you need to be present to check whether it is happening and enforce it if there is any pushback – you cannot ask your child to be their own enforcer!
On the other hand, sand rules are useful for things like electronic time that can change depending on the day of the week or time of the year.
In either case, it is essential that the children are clear what the boundaries are, and the parents must be willing to hold the limit.
Another suggestion I offer is, depending on the age of your children, consider having a family meeting where you discuss the rules that are needed and appropriate for your family. You and your partner may want to talk this through first, so you come to this meeting with some suggestions and a framework based on your family values.
I hope you found these practices helpful and that you try them.
Want to learn more?
In part 4 of this blog series, I talk about shame and guilt and why us mothers feel it so deeply after we have yelled. And if you are ready to make some changes in your life click below to get the free downloadable Yelling Quiz that will tell you exactly the reasons you yell!