Thursday, May 7, 2015

13 Ways to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

My kids have this annoying way of hanging on my last nerve like it’s a freaking monkey bar. They’ll poke me in the eye, use the salt shaker as a maraca, leave Hot Wheels in my slippers, or whine about the unsatisfactory texture of their oatmeal and the fact that it’s not ice cream—whatever it takes to leave me on the verge of a meltdown.

Unfortunately, unlike monkey bars, nerves aren't made of steel. They’re known to snap. And, when they do, I yell.

Now, I don’t know any parents (myself included) who enjoy yelling. I've personally promised to stop on numerous occasions. I’ll wake up in the morning and—before I even open my eyes—think to myself, Today’s a new day. Today’s a fresh start. Today, I will not yell.

But then my kid jumps on my bed and yanks out a chunk of my hair.

It’s hard not to raise your voice when your kid is raising hell, but that doesn't mean I like doing it. Yelling sucks. It makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel out-of-control. It makes me spit and slobber and spew out incoherent gibberish like the Tasmanian Devil (before quality cartoons were overthrown by sunshine, rainbows, amicable tigers, and everyone-getting-along-all-the-time). It makes my damn throat hurt.

In my quest to temper my outbursts, I've read a lot of articles about “how to stop yelling at your kids.” I mean, a lot. In fact, it kind of makes me wonder if the real reason the parents writing this shit are able to avoid yelling is because they spend all their time and energy brainstorming more things that parents can fail at (because clearly there’s not enough of that circulating around the internet already). Maybe I’m just weak, but I've found that most of these “suggestions” work well in theory but not in practice.

I have, however, stumbled across a few winners. If you’re a “yeller” hoping to make a change, check out the list below. Here are fourteen 13 strategies I've found online that I believe really can help you stop yelling at your kids.

1. Count to ten. If you don’t have enough wine to fill that many glasses, go get another bottle.

2. Find an outlet for your anger.* An electrical one. You’ll want a fork as well.

3. Give yourself some space. Right. When’s the next manned spaceflight to the moon scheduled, and how do I get my name on the list?

4. Practice deep breathing. Into a pipe. Seriously, medical marijuana is legal in almost half the country now. It shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on a prescription. Doctors use it to treat insomnia, chronic pain (surely pain in the ass counts), and headaches. If your doc is still hesitant to write you one, bring your kids with you to your next appointment. He’ll probably offer to let you huff it through the tubes of his sphygmomanometer.*

He might even join you.

*If you do end up high, try to say this word out loud

5. Invest in a squeezable stress ball. Then shove it in your mouth. That’ll stop the yelling right at the source. Or, if the kids are being loud, shove it in theirs, and you may curtail the compulsion to yell. On a related note:

6. Get support. When balled up, support hosiery makes an excellent gag for either you or your whiny offspring.

7. Adopt a mantra. So…“Mantra” is, like, French for live-in nanny or something, right?

8. Identify your triggers. Learning to properly identify and employ a water gun trigger may be helpful. Hosing your kid down is surprisingly satisfying.

9. Hug it out. If you squeeze tightly enough, it just might shut them up. Or, it’ll melt you into a puddle of sentimental goo. (Okay, so this one’s pretty legit.)

10. Ask for help. “Hey, Mr. Mailman, can you help me estimate the cost of postage for sending approximately 60 lbs worth of toddler via priority mail? Oh, who are we kidding here? I can't afford that shit. How much do you charge for standard? What's that? No, no, no, I would not like to add a tracking number. Or insurance."

11. Release your stress through physical activity. Tossing the kids around under the guise of “dancing” tends to work for me. Sometimes you just need to shake ‘em up a bit.

12. Just stop. Just stop. Just…stop? JUST STOP! HOLY CRAP, WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?
[via memegenerator]

13. Be a roll model. Like…turn into a roll of toilet paper? Right, I guess that would work; an inanimate object is physically incapable of yelling. How simple. 

Oh wait…it’s role model? Dammit. Freaking homophones. Scratch this one.

14. 13. Try to see things from your child’s point of view. Depending on your kid’s age and stature, passing out on the couch should put you pretty close to eye-level. If yours is taller, go for the recliner.

Interestingly, I've not yet read anything touting the effectiveness of duct tape. I may have to experiment with that one and modify this list accordingly.


A note:

To be fair, a lot of the strategies out there are probably somewhat effective. But when you have one kid twisting your nipples and another one sucking on the drain stopper from the bathroom sink like it’s a popsicle (yes, Ollie has done that), it’s kinda hard to tap into the rational part of your brain.

Besides… I mean....sarcasm. You can't really yell if you're laughing.

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