I’m a dad… of four. Some of your reading this can appreciate the chaos that this statement implies, but for those who cannot, allow me to paint a brief picture. Imagine one of those old school cage matches they used to have in “pro wrestling”. There are four guys in the ring, caged in, just going nuts on each other. This is similar to many of my experiences with my kids, only in my case, its two boys and two girls, and two are in diapers, so bodily fluids are regularly involved. As you might imagine, life around here can be intense, loud, and more than a little stressful. So, as you also might imagine, that life can wear out a man’s patience from time to time, thus producing what I call, the selfish yell.
Yes, I did just acknowledge that I have been known to yell at my kids. I’m ok with admitting it, though I’m not proud of it. I mean who would be proud of yelling at a child right? When I yell it is utterly selfish. Don’t get me wrong, they usually deserve some kind of punishment and one of them has likely dropped kicked another through a wall or something, but even in those moments when one kid is about to “metaphorically” pile drive another, yelling isn’t a good solution.
When I’m honest with myself I usually yell at my kids for one primary reason, they aren’t doing what I want. Even though what I may want for them is good for them, still the motivation behind the yell is a selfish one. If I yell its about me, not about what’s best for them. Do you see what I’m getting at? If I yell at my kids, its my selfish reaction to what they are doing in the moment. If I’m really interested in correcting my kids, I will take the time to do it lovingly, in a way that they will understand and respond to.
We all know that kids don’t respond to a yell, they just avoid them. No behavior changes after a yell, they just hide things better the next time, so that they don’t “set you off”. If we want our kids to grow and really be better, we have to take the time to correct them in a way that helps them to really be better, and helps us to be better too.
The yell is selfish, timeout on the other hand, is pretty awesome!