Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Defense of Yelling

When I admit that I'm a Mom that yells, I get a lot of dirty looks.  You know the look- you might even be doing it right now.

I feel that it's important that my children see me in all my emotional states (although, I admit, I do tend to hide out during some of the more extreme ones) simply so they realize that having emotions are normal. 

It's NORMAL to get angry once in a while.  I recall watching my Mom get angry when I was a kid and I'm surprised at how educational the process was.  I learned that:
  • EVERYONE (even those that have it all together) get angry at some point.
  • It's OK to have emotions.
  • You ALWAYS apologize if your temper interferes with a normal function.  ("I'm sorry I got angry when you broke my lamp..."
  • Telling your kids WHY you were angry helped them learn to draw accurate conclusions.  (That lamp was a gift from my grandma.  I miss her very much.  When you broke the lamp I got angry.  I'm sorry.)
  • Telling your children you will NEVER be angry again is a LIE.  (Face it, you will be angry again.  Don't lie about it to them or they will hold you to it.  Same thing holds to other emotions.)
  • Love is unconditional.  (Even when she was mad at something I did, I always knew Mom loved me.  I make certain my kids know the same thing.)
Other things I learned included how to avoid being angry in the first place, how to blow off steam or redirect my anger, and how to appropriately categorize it. 

I doubt I (or other kids) would have had as nice a grasp on my emotions if I hadn't had a Mom that could show her feelings.  And it wasn't just anger that she demonstrated.  My Mom constantly showed compassion, empathy and sympathy, happiness and sadness, lonliness and stress.  All of which are VALID emotions.

So, when does yelling and other emotional outbursts become a problem?  According to experts, emotions become an issue if they interfere with your daily life.  If yelling and anger make you difficult to be around, it may be time to see a specialist for some help.  If crying or feelings of lonliness are taking over, it's also a good idea to see someone about it.

When I asked my 7 year old how he feels about "Mommy yelling", he said, "I don't know.  I guess you just care TOO much.  But how did you know I ate the cookies when you weren't in the kitchen with me?"
"You ate the cookies?" 

"Ummm... maybe... Isn't that what we're talking about?"

Yeah... and supposedly a guilty conscience is also a healthy sign.

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