Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Shouting Really the New Spanking?

The New York Times ran an article this week entitled, "For Some Parents Shouting is the New Spanking." I admit, and I am not proud of it, but I have yelled at Sarah. While I want to say there is no good reason for yelling the only one I still question is when it comes to her safety.

I have come to realize that it's necessary to remove Sarah from certain situations where her safety is in question so yelling by me, or Daniel, does become necessary to protect her. For example, over the summer I took Sarah to the park near our home where she could run and frolic in the sprinklers. The challenge was that the area was not gated off and Sarah would often decide she would rather run towards the street. While I had all my attention on her sometimes she would dart off quickly towards the street. In sprint to get her I would raise my voice to tell her to stop. And, stop she did not. In those instances, her safety is what mattered most. But, realizing that she did not hear me because she chose not to did not help her or me. Therefore, we started to limit our time at this location for this very reason and found other fun things for Sarah to do.

Outside of these situations around Sarah's safety there have been other instances where I have raised my voice at her. Experiencing Sarah's reaction during these times in which I have lost my cool with her, especially when it was not necessary, left my heart in pieces. The guilt was overwhelming. Because of this I have actually been trying hard not to yell or shout at her and have become more aware in these situations.

Being a full time working mom is no excuse for yelling. Being tired is no excuse for screaming. Being crazy busy is no excuse for losing my temper. I experience all of these and know that stress is a big factor behind moments when I may raise my voice.

Being much more aware and cognizant of when I get worked up and might shout I have been able to catch myself well before it happens. Even as I write this is it pains me to know that parenting is hard work and sometimes I get upset, but Sarah should never be on the receiving end of my frustrations.

Sarah brings such incredible joy to my life and I take great pride in helping her foster and grow. She makes me proud daily. When I know she is pushing my buttons, which she often does, I just need to keep reminding myself to stop and consider why she is acting out. Likely the case is that she wants and needs my attention and I just have to drop what I am doing to focus on her.

Parenting is both a tough and extremely rewarding job. Know that you are human and there may very well be instances where you may loose your cool over your child's 18 years under your roof.

Be good to yourself and love your children unconditionally and go with the flow and know each day is a journey and new experience.

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