I admit it.
I try not to, but with four daughters – it’s a given. You have to yell, sometimes. No?
Erin Hayes Moran says, nope.
Here’s the deal. Erin says one day, almost a full year ago now, she was in the midst of mothering her three children; Gabriel, 9, Zachary, 5 and Abby Lou, 3. She remembers this one moment, “I was yelling, I can’t even remember why which shows how small it probably was, but I was yelling and I saw the look on my son’s face; it was fear. Abby Lou was crying and I knew right then and there that it was time to make a change.”
So Erin did what many of us do as we search for ways to be a better wife, parent, employee, human – she scoured the internet.
She searched specifically for ways to stop yelling at kids. The truth is – as Erin and most of us know – when we yell at our kids, it’s usually not just about them doing something wrong – it’s usually about something else, too. It’s about us. Are we having a bad day? Are we tired? Are we stressed? Are we in a hurry?
Erin decided if she was going to be a better mom, she had to start with finding her best self. She started with personal development.
Step number one – talk to her husband, Brett. Erin told him they had to do this together. He was all in.
Step number two – find tools, tricks, and other ways to re-frame things; figure out how to calm down in the moment.
Step number three – go for it.
Done. Done. And done.
Erin found a site that had a 30-day no yelling challenge. This was it.
For 30 days, Erin found ways to walk away, change the mood, and forego the screams. For 30 days, she fought herself – and in the end, the mom of three won,
“It was hard. Honestly, there were times, I mean yelling is a habit so it was hard. What I’ve learned though is that you’re yelling to get the result you want. I’m now seeing that I can get the result that I want without the yelling. I’d count to ten. Or to 200. I would do two-minute meditations. I would fake laugh- I read that if you fake laughter, you’ll end up cracking up for real. I did and the kids did.”
Erin did other things too. She taped pictures of her children as newborns all around her house. It was a reminder that they’re young children. They are not little adults. They are trying to learn and grow.
Erin saw a change in those first 30 days that made her want to do this all the time; although, she admits to challenges, “When I got to 150 days, I found I was nagging and nagging and talking all the time. So, I did a little more research and changed the way we discipline. We went from punishment to teaching.
For example, Erin says when her son didn’t want to brush his teeth, she told him fine, no sugar and made him broccoli for breakfast. It worked.
It is – all of this no yelling – a parent-positively philosophy. No, it’s not new. It’s not even a reinvention. In fact, it’s a recycled approach to parenting. For Erin and her family – it is the way of the future, “My kids have changed. They are so much more confident, especially my 9-year-old. One of the things that’s touched me the most is that his teacher told me, well, he got a student of the month award for forgiveness, which was nice, but his teacher told me, “He’s always forgiving his friends, but for the first time he is forgiving himself. He’s not as hard on himself. Whatever you are doing at home is working; keep it up.” That meant the world to me. His teacher noticed a change in him!”
They talk more about feelings, about consequences,
“The house is calmer. Sure there are disagreements, not everything is perfect, but things don’t escalate to the point where we are unhappy and the kids go to bed upset and I’m left with a ton of mom guilt.”
A better mom,
“Oh my gosh, yes. A million times better and I just feel better, more confident and I don’t go to bed with mom guilt. I know I still make mistakes and I recognize that, but I feel so much better about the place we are at.”
With just about two weeks left, that one year of no yelling seems like a success. Erin has a bit of advice for those parents who struggle with yelling –
-Journal; find out what your triggers are.
-Stay calm is an ap for your phone that has 2-minute meditation exercises.
-Work with your spouse or co-parent to help find the best ways to discipline.
-Stick to it. There will be challenges, but you can get through them.
And one more important point – This whole no-yelling thing is not for everyone. You’re not a bad parent if you yell. There’s no judging here,
“I don’t judge. If your kids are loved and in school and they have clothes and food and you’re doing the best you can, that’s great; but, there are other ideas for more positive ways to parent, so that is my 2018 goal, to see how many parents I can help do better and give up that mom or dad guilt.”
Erin is one of our Lifestyle contributors and will be writing about all things parenthood!
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