To yell or not to yell
Often people tell me about how adjustable and accommodating my 5 years old is,whenever we show up together at various occasions. They also mention how lucky it is to get a girl who is so easy going most of the times. And they even ask me whether she behaves the same at home also.
Well, this is not the case with her each day of my life. I know! She is gorgeous, she is smart, she is very adjustable to circumstances. But that doesn’t mean she is that way each and every moment right? Obviously, no one is a perfect angel all the time also. Each one of us has their own imperfections and kids are not spared from this either.
Everyone tends to behave differently at different occasions & circumstances. It also depends on the kind of people that you are surrounded with.
For kids, the reasons to behave unreasonably range widely from a hungry tummy to a tummy ache, a bullying class mate or buddy, incomplete sleep, messed up favourite toy and what not! Also, being a workaholic parent it sometimes gets difficult to handle those tantrums without losing your cool. A lot of patience is required to handle things simultaneously. One of those situations occurred yesterday.
It was a pleasant Sunday morning that we very much look forward to. We had planned to make some good, cosy Mallu food and my husband was going to prepare pizza for little T. Everyone was in good spirits and we had some really good plans for the day. But everything doesn’t go as planned right?
My 5 year old girl had just gotten up and did not seem to be in a good mood. Just looking at her, I could figure that she wasn’t fine. In the attempt of shifting her mood to a better one, I showered her with hugs and kisses like I always do. She was not too pleased and particularly short on patience. Whatever we talked about, ended with a round of screaming or shouting from her end. I tried to ask her and probe the reasons but kids being kids, are mostly unaware of the reasons of their mood swings. That being said, all parents would agree that many a times, our kids act unreasonably to see how far they can go with us.
I gave her a few activities to improve her mood – colouring, hugs, sorting her jewellery, hugs, go out with dad to get groceries, hugs – nothing had a different ending. I didn’t know what was going on with her. Probably someone in the playground said something yesterday or got her favourite dress damaged? I probed some more but nothing odd seemed to have happened in the last few days.
I did not have enough time and I did not feel we were reaching anywhere positive with this thing going on with her. I had my music lessons too to attend to in a short while and dance practice for an upcoming event. Finally, I knew we had to face this head on.
I politely asked her the reasons for her anger and frustration. I tried to hug her and then she resisted again. Now I have to admit that I got a bit angry, but not only because of her. This is the only day we really get together as a family and I don’t mind spending it trying to help her but if she has decided to demand attention this way, I need to put an end to it now.
Mental exhaustion was soaking me in. And, when she screamed one more time as an answer to one of the simple questions I had asked her, I lost my mind but kept my calm as I knew where this will take me if i yell back at her.
At that point of time i had two options in hand ;
- Yell at her and force her to surrender
If this had been my choice of reaction to the situation, I would have probably felt nice while letting go of my stress and frustration out. That would have been momentary. I wouldn’t have achieved anything with that. It would have caused more of a havoc with her. She would have felt scared and let down at the same time. This would have affected her mindset about parenting and parents.
Knowing her, she would not have retaliated and would have quietened down but I would have done nothing more than scare her and suppress her.
Her absurd actions throughout the morning would have been met with an equally absurd reaction from my end. And two negative actions can’t have a positive outcome. This is not multiplication, this is life.
- Just walk out of the situation and give some space
Let some steam off. Cool down and let the kid cool down. At this age, they do know when they are acting unreasonably and they are testing their limits and our patience most of the times to see how far they can go with us and what it is going to lead to. Will it get them another toy to make peace? Or will it buy them a better time with their parents who are otherwise busy due to their hectic work lives (a bitter reality of today’s times)?
Having certain amount of experience in dealing with my munchkin and knowing the pros & cons of these choices, I decided to give her and myself some space to think. I told her in a firm tone that I am really not interested to be talked to this way and if this is the way she prefers to talk to me and the rest of the family, it is best that we do not talk until she decides to treat us fairly. Also, I warned her that by mistreating us, she is asking to be mistreated too as hate begets hate and love begets love.
And then I ignored her for some time. She seemed a bit sad but it was necessary for her to introspect. A few minutes went like that. My daughter had gone to her room and I finished up some pending work.
Eventually, when I went inside to check on her, all I had to do was touch her forehead and re-assure her that I loved her. Little T had sorted things in her head, figured her boundaries with us and she chose to react with an “I love you mommy” and her signature kisses. She promised me not to shout at us and she really kept her promise the entire day.
We both hugged enough and reminded each other of how much we loved each other throughout the lovely Sunday. It was a beautiful day!
What does it say ?
We all are humans and get angry at times. The reasons might differ and the intensities may differ but not the intent. We are programmed to behave different at different times and with different kind of people. Getting angry isn’t a bad thing. “One must have a healthy respect towards anger”. As parents, we need to try to probe the reasons for our kids’ angry reactions. We need to help them resolve their issues which are making them frustrated and angry.
At the same time we must know how to control it at times. Our problems and emotions shouldn’t affect others. This is something we need to teach to our kids at an early age, not by preaching but from our actions. Walk the Talk. Whenever there are times where you feel like you are on the verge of yelling at your kids, take a pause and walk out of the situation. That will do well for your and your kid’s well being. Times brings everything and everyone down. All we have to do is give “Time” some “Time”.
- Srikanta Behera