I may have had a slip-up this morning, but that depends on who you talk to. And it brings up a very important question: what exactly does “no yelling” mean?
The kids were driving me insane this morning. We’re all early risers and generally have at least two hours of awake time before we have to get out the door, but the boys were too busy messing around to care that Mom had instructed them to get dressed and make their beds because we were leaving for school in 15 minutes. Polite requests were not getting it done, so I resorted to an angry hiss through clenched teeth: “Little boys who can’t listen do not get to play iPad. Now GET GOING!”
None of this was done in a raised voice, so I figured I was cool. Chris insists that counted as yelling.
The Orange Rhino site that started all this has a “yelling meter” that might be useful in this situation (note that Orange Rhino says anything up to level 4 is OK):
0 – The everyday voice. The “life is good,” I just love being a mom and having these little conversations voice. Serenity and happiness ooze out with every word. Signs: you think to yourself, wow, this is a nice moment, I think I’ll cherish it and you’re filled with hope that the day is gonna be a good one.
1 – The whisper. The quiet, almost non-audible voice that our pre-school teacher uses that somehow gets attention, respect and follow through. Signs: you can barely hear it and it works like magic.
2 – The re-direct voice. It’s a clear, loving and patient voice that does not show irritation for the situation at hand but instead gently expresses that you don’t like a behavior, why, and offers a new activity. Sign: When you use it you pat yourself on the back for successfully following advice from a parenting magazine, for once.
3 – The firm voice (potentially raised). This is the I am starting-to-mean business voice accompanied with occasional raised eye brows and introduction of idle threats. Signs: you are still calm and there are no hurt feelings, but you’re wondering when (not if) you’re gonna snap and you are growing impatient, quickly.
4 – The “oopsie” snap. Stop! Alright! Ouch! This snap is starting to get nasty, but hasn’t gotten there yet. It isn’t a long tirade, it’s just a quick sharp voice where you stop yourself…it’s just enough to make the kids stop what they are doing for a second and think whether or not they will continue annoying behavior. Signs: blood pressure is picking up a little, but you are back to calm quickly and think “oh crap I really didn’t mean to do that.”
5 – The nasty snap. Darn it! Knock it off! Cut it out! This snap might be short, but it’s filled with venom. Signs: blood is starting to boil inside; vocal chords are warming up, preparing for a long tirade; you think to yourself “oh crap” was that a nasty snap? If you think it, it was.
6 – The yell. It’s loud. You know it’s loud. And it’s mean. You simply know you’ve crossed the line, there is no question. Signs: kids tears are a pretty good indicator, as are doors slamming, kids screaming back at you that you’re mean and they don’t love you any more.
7 – The raging scream. A notch up from “the yell.” It’s totally intentional and is filled with much more nastiness, hurtfulness and hysteria – on both sides. Signs: body shaking, often hard to stop doing it; results in feelings of massive guilt and shame in the screamer and definite feelings of shame, sadness, and fear in the kiddos; throat throbs afterwards.
Based on the above scale, I’d say the incident this morning was a level 3. The lapse with Brayden last night was probably a 4. So maybe all is still well. (And for the record: I have never had a level 7).
What say my loyal readers?
Good thing I didn’t join in. Jake was being a little bugger about practicing karate and I raised my voice at him. Instant meltdown with tears. I can’t imagine what would happen if I actually yelled at him!