I’m got a confession to make… I yell at my children.
I’ve been putting off telling you all, since I know what the backlash will be. Some of you will write calm but vicious emails. Many of you will ‘unlike’ me on Facebook. But still, I feel the need to confess.
You see I’m concerned that society is getting awfully confused about anger and that we’re sending our kids such strange messages about how to handle it. So while we aim for aggression free homes, our kids are playing increasingly violent games and then heading out onto the streets as ‘youth’ (I love that word), getting drunk and beating the shit out of each other.
Let’s get this straight – under NO circumstance do I condone violence. I applaud public policy that tackles domestic violence. Everyone deserves the right to live in a non-abusive home.
And perhaps there lies the problem. We’re so focused on removing serious aggression from society that we’re now unable to freely discuss anger and parenting. It’s become totally taboo. If I admit that I can’t totally control my impulses and I do yell at my kids, I am a bad parent.
So do you yell at your kids?
I seriously ‘lose it’ about once a month. It’s never for no reason. It’s after the kids have been requested and warned. Then warned again. And then yet again they are still not doing as I asked. And what I’m asking is reasonable. And they’re still not doing it despite my best and calmest efforts. And I lose it.
I don’t use swear words. I don’t call them demeaning names or degrade them. I don’t hit them. But I yell and let them know that they have pushed me beyond my limits.
I was raised in a really happy and loving home with a glorious mother who had some fairly volatile moments. I remember them. They terrified me. But I learnt to behave myself and learnt to respect that all humans, no matter how much you love them and they love you, have limits. You can only push so far. She’d warn us if she was having a ‘bad day’ and we would tred carefully. I find myself doing this with my own kids – “you know what kids – some days, you can get away with getting paint on the carpet. But not today. Don’t try it today.”
I’m wondering what’s so bad about teaching kids the skill of ‘reading’ people. Of understanding that the world isn’t sanitized. You can’t always predict people. You need emotional perception in order to develop skills to successfully negotiate school, work, public transport, life.
I’m not sure how much a totally calm home environment helps. Because we all feel anger. And whether we like it or not, anger gets expressed in a variety of ways. Surely it’s good to understand it. Know what it feels like. Know when it’s safe to express it and when it’s not. Know how to love and respect people. Know when you can and can’t push them.
What do you think?