Saturday, March 3, 2012

Animal House No More

I don't know who this woman is but I found her on under "yell here, don't yell at your kids" and I was like alright, let's take a gander.

These are the rules:
No Yelling for 365 days straight. If I yell, I am back to Day 0. If I use a Raging Scream, then I am set back to -2 days. The “firm voice” and “oopsie snap” are permitted as is yelling in emergencies. More below…
Exactly what does “No Yelling” mean? Can I raise my voice? What if I accidentally snap, does that count as yelling? What about in case of emergencies? Clearly, some clarity is needed around my definition of yelling. So I crafted my own personal “Yelling Meter” (see below) and set the following rules for myself:

  1. My voice has to remain in Levels 0-4 (the nice tone voices!)
  2. In case of Emergency (kid running off in parking lot, kid running into street, hot stove etc…) I can use a voice in level 6 but it has to be yelling “to” the kid not “at” the kid. When you yell at someone, it’s mean. When you yell “to” someone it’s to get their attention. Said voice MUST be followed by firm voice in level 3 or below otherwise it’s no good.
  3. This one is the kicker. If Level 7 is ever used, I am set back not to 0, but by two days. This level is unacceptable as it is extra demeaning and hurtful….
The Orange Rhino’s YELLING METER
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 sh*t I really didn’t mean to do that.”
5 – The nasty snap. Darnit! 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 sh*t” 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 (at least for me) and definite feelings of shame, sadness, and fear in the kiddos; throat throbs afterwards.

So why am I taking part? 
I have amazing children, last I counted...3, who are resilient and can do anything (hell, they speak Chinese) and they deserve to have a mom that doesn't yell and can find another way to convey that's not a good idea.

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