Yesterday I didn't yell at my kids once. This is huge. It was also a low-stress day.
I told my children my goal. I asked them to try an be respectful (whatever that means) and said that if they thought I might yell, to please send me to time-out. We had a great conversation about using time-outs to cool down and how we need to problem solve.
I love the idea that I'm teaching my children instead of controlling them. I love the idea that by working on my temper, it will help them with theirs.
Jim Hutt, Ph.D., creator of counselorlink.com; says "[yelling is] not a good strategy for getting good behavior. Yelling is scary, so it activates a child's emotional "fight or flight" response while shutting down his logical thinking. "If I yell at a kid, he's going to stop processing information, and if I want him to learn why his behavior is inappropriate, I need him to be able to understand what I'm saying, When parents raise their voice, all it teaches kids is to do the same when they're upset. "If we hit, they hit; if we yell, they learn to yell. If we are calm, they learn how to be calm,"
After all that success, the night was rough. My 16 month old has no sleep schedule. She's been erratic since she was born. I've tried to work with her natural rhythms, but I suspect she has none. About a year ago I forced a nap time on her to limited success. Several months ago we switched to a morning nap, which works a lot better as far as routine, her morning behavior, and getting her to take a nap. It falls apart after that: because she naps so early in the morning, she sometimes falls asleep in the car in the afternoon. if she does, her mood is better in the evening, but it also means she might not go to bed, or that she'll wake up in the middle of the night and think it's playtime. If she doesn't fall asleep, she'll be cranky in the evening and become to intolerable that I'll put her to bed an hour early, which means he'll wake up in the middle of the night and think it's playtime. I'm really not sure how to fix this.
Last night she woke up at 2am. We tossed and turned. I broke down and nursed her (theoretically she's been night weaned for three months), I hushed, I soothed, I cuddled, I ignored, I used stern words. At 4am I was done. She is 16 months old, why is she still sleeping like a newborn? I swaddled her tightly and spoke in an angry, sleep-deprived, hushed whisper/hiss. "GO TO SLEEP NOW" I had my arm over her so she couldn't move. She screamed for two minutes then fell asleep. I was up for another hour feeling guilty.
Clearly, this is going to a problem in the future. I need to figure out a better way to deal with it.