Today I’m choosing not to be a shouty mum

Choosing is the most important action in that title. I should probably start by explains that it’s not that I never get cross or live on a bubble of zen with my legs crossed and rose-tinted spectacles, ignoring EVERY misdemeanour with a smile and a nod

 they’re just expressing themselves

type thing. I know when my kids have stepped out of line and that they do things which need pulling up and stopping. I just choose not to shout.

It’s a parenting style which evolved through understanding and looking at things from their point of view rather than my own. Once I realised that life can be just as complex and downright wobbly for them, the light bulb moment came that yelling (and smacking) was more about releasing my frustrations than teaching them right from wrong.

Need that clarifying? Here goes;

When I’m stressed my brain and my patience goes gaga. Little irritating things turn into big irritating things. All that cortisol and adrenalin rushing round my body stops my rational thoughts like a huge boulder on the track. for example, when I’m stressed and my toddler’s wiping my favourite hand cream all over the bathroom wall instead of washing his hands. That really pisses me off. I WANT to shout and ask him wtf does he think he’s doing? Does he not think I’ve got enough to do. (of course he doesn’t, he’s 2 and it’s perfectly natural to be egocentric)

But I know that’s my fight response taking charge. I’m cross and I feel like shouting to release that frustration. You still with me?

Sure it’ll make him realise that I’m fuming, it was wrong and maybe he shouldn’t NEVER do it again.

But here’s the problem.

I need to be showing my kids how to show some self-restraint

By nature, I’m not that shouty, stressed person. Most of the time I’m rational and would talk to my son in a calm but stern voice when he’s done something wrong. Explain why it’s wrong and give him an understanding of why not do it again (not just it’ll make Mummy scary) Those moments when I want to yell are the hardest by far. Those are the ones when I’m exercising every level of restraint not to lose my parenting cool.

But they are also the moments when I’m modelling to my sponge-of-a-son how not to lose your cool. When I yell (it has happened in the past, I’m not Mary Poppins!) my kids glaze over, they shut down OR they get angry back. THEIR brain stops working as it should & they go into a fight or flight situation, where any chance of rational understanding goes out the window. In short, they stop listening,

When I yell (it has happened in the past, I’m not Mary Poppins!) my kids glaze over, they shut down OR they get angry back. THEIR brain stops working as it should & they go into a fight or flight situation, where any chance of rational understanding goes out the window. In short, they stop listening, instead, consumed by their own feelings rather than understanding what they did wrong.

I need to be showing my kids how to show some self-restraint, so they can do the same when faced with similar situations. By not shouting at every annoying or naughty thing they do, they also know that if they do do something horrendous, then they’ve really crossed the line. But even those moments when I have to whip out the big Mummy voice, we still regroup and talk about why it was wrong. Like I said, I’m not perfect but I am the role model and trying my arm hardest to raise level-headed kids.

But the no shouting thing, that’s normal me, that’s what my kids expect and that’s how my kids learn right from wrong and go out into the world with little inner voices reminding them how best life works. Don’t always jump in with both fists.

That’s why today I’m choosing not to be a shouty mum.


 

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10 things they never told you about living with a teenager

I don’t want to scare anyone yet to reach this wonderful phase of childhood or rein doom and gloom on the world of being the proud owner of a teenager, but I think that it’s time there was some honesty between us, we’re friends right?

Ok some of you I’ve ever met and the odds are that we never will, but just by the sheer notion that you’re reading this, I’m rewarding you by sharing a little known secret that other parents of teenagers have been keeping from you.

If you’ve already passed this intrepid journey into adult hood with your nearest and dearest, then its a gentle reminder of what you survived. Feel free to toast yourself that these years have passed, you survived albeit a little battle scared, and spare a thought for others still paddling through.


This is what you no one ever told you about living with teenagers.

1)

Doors will be slammed, things will be broken your kitchen work tops will never be clean. Teenagers suddenly become incredibly clumsy, simple tasks that they’d mastered throughout childhood become difficult again.  Their limbs take on a life of their own which prevents them from shutting cupboard doors, picking up dirty clothes and putting things in the dishwasher. Some male teenagers never get those skills back.

2)

You’ll have 1 room in the house where the door is always shut on the off-chance you have visitors. The teenager’s bedroom. They are blind to anything below waist height, meaning the sea of clothes, wet towels and school work strewn across the floor, are completely and utterly beyond their sight line. As nagging no longer works, they build up an immunity to it you see, the only thing you have left to do is to shut the door and pretend everything’s ok.

3)

You have to learn a new language  if you want to know what they did at school/where their going/who they’re going with. It’s not easy though as this new language is incomprehensible to anyone else who is not a teenager. Moving their lips becomes hard work so they evolve into a mumble dialect. Hearing is also a problem so the safest and easiest way to let them know dinner’s ready is to text.

4)

You’ll have to up your ‘family days out’ agendas as it’s now optional as to whether they join you, and always throw in the offer of a Maccy D’s to be on the safe side(that’s teen speak for McDonalds, I think, or it was last week anyway). Spending time with their parents is physically painful and any request for their company is met with fright, anger, disgust or treated as just plain weird.

5)

The kitchen cupboards will empty within hours of being refilled. These guys have an insatiable hunger that only crisps, cereal and their brother’s / sisters favourite snack will quench.Fruit is no longer an acceptable option, along with bread sticks, diluted fruit juice and homemade fairy cakes.

6)

They grow in foot high spurts. In the blink of an eye every pair of trousers they own will hang around their shins. You’ll sometimes wonder if you’ve accidentally slept for a month as you’re sure that yesterday everything fitted.

7)
You will no longer be the fountain of all knowledge.  In fact, you’re so unknowing and out of date that they will stop asking you any questions and will disagree with almost everything you say, with 1 exception (see below)

8)

Despite you now being the household dunce (in their eyes, you’re not don’t worry, one day they’ll even admit this to you)  you are expected to know the where abouts of their school bus pass/mobile phone/homework.

9)

you’ll get no sympathy from your parents when you need to moan about them. It’s considered payback and they’ve been waiting a very long time for you to get your comeuppance. Revenge is a dish best served cold and as your own parents knew more than you, back when you were a teenager, they knew these days would come.

10)

You will take on a second job as personal chauffeur with a zero hour contract, no pay and no holiday allowance but you’ll do it for the pleasure of knowing they’re safe and because you love them and know that one day they’ll look back and remember all the nice things you did for them.


And because it’s a sight lot bloody cheaper than paying a taxi fare. 

For my mum & dad who always knew more than me. Sorry x

10 things they never told you about living with a teenager by mum in a nutshell

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