Are you a yeller?
Who are you yelling at?
- Your kids
- Your grandchildren
- Your spouse or significant other
- Your mom
- Your sister
- Your employees?
Why are you yelling?
If you’re like many other women, it’s an automatic response to your own level of stress and tension.
Or perhaps, it’s simply your way of being.
Women don’t necessarily yell because they’re angry (although anger often manifests in yelling). Some simply yell.
Perhaps you grew up in a yelling family. Everyone yelled at everyone. Family members yelled through the house, they yelled up the stairs, they yelled as they came in the back door, they yelled from the car in the driveway, they yelled out the front door to round up the kids for dinner.
And maybe you’ve had yelling bosses over the years.
The problem with stress yelling—even if you feel better in the moment—is that you’re often left feeling remorseful, even stupid, afterwards. Humbled.
And now, with the Covid-19 quarantine, families are in close quarters, getting on each others’ last nerves. The tendency to yell is heightened.
This is a good time to think about what you want.
When my oldest daughter, Jaimie, was 12 years old, I credit her for turning us into a non-yelling family.
At that time, I was a twice-divorced, now-single, working mom of three pre-adolescent children. We definitely had tension. I was busy, pre-occupied, stressed and recovering from a second divorce. The kids were busy, loud and always needing something. Which is reasonable.
I loved being a mom to these kids, and yet, there were moments.
On one particular day, Jaimie was pushing my buttons. I recall letting her have it. Six inches from her face, and just blasting her. When I stopped yelling, she looked at me and said, “Mom, I’ve decided even if you yell at me, I’m not going to yell back.”
I was intrigued. I told her, “If you can do that, I can do that.” And the notion of becoming a non-yelling family was born. I announced this to the twins, who were ten at the time, and off we went.
From there, moving forward for eight more years of having kids at home, does this mean we never yelled? Of course not. But it does mean we took responsibility for it. Well, I took responsibility for it. I was, after all, the leader of the home. When the kids yelled, I calmly replied, “Hey, just use your words.” When I yelled, I apologized.
We put a stake in the ground—“We are a non-yelling family”—and we kept that value alive.
As the mom, it mattered more to me than the kids at the time. As full-grown adults (Jaimie is 31, and my twins are 29), it matters to them now. They can reflect on their childhood and appreciate not being yelled at every day.
Does it matter? Yes.
Back during those years, one of my son’s friends said to him—when they were about 12 years old—“You’re lucky your mom doesn’t yell at you, because my mom yells at me all the time.”
The kids know.
One of my friends recently shared a story from when her now-adult daughter was a little girl. After another hectic morning of racing everyone out the door for school and work, my friend looked in the rearview mirror at her daughter and noticed she was looking very sad. She asked her daughter what was wrong. Her daughter replied, “You’re always yelling.”
Yes, the kids know. Even the little ones.
One of my friends who is a kindergarten teacher told me that her four and five-year old students talk about their mom and dad yelling at them. This shouldn’t be a thing!
So, what about you? What do you want?
Do you want to be a yeller? Do you want to get a handle on that?
Below, I’d like to share three ideas that may help you calm down and stop yelling.
Three Ways to Calm Down and Stop Yelling
- Begin with your future in mind. If you’re a mom, you might be able to get away with the yelling thing now, especially with the kids being young. When they are adults with a fully-developed, rational brain, they will look back and judge what you did. It is not only their perception of you that matters, this is also about the damage your yelling may do to their confidence and sense of self worth. And what about others? What is the cumulative effect of your yelling on employees? Your spouse? Other relationships? I believe in the notion that relationships die gradually, then suddenly. Yelling presents consequences in the future, if not today.
- Decide. Almost everything I help women advance in their lives begins with the decision to do it. This is no different. Simply decide. Decide who you want to be as a person. Do you want to be a yeller? Do you want to be someone who doesn’t yell?
- Take small steps. Look for where yelling is happening. And make changes one step at a time. I’ll give you one example. When my kids were young, when they arrived home from school, they’d open the back door and yell, “MOOOOMMMMMM?” For awhile, I would yell, “I’M IN MY OFFICE!” As I started working on my own yelling, I decided when they yelled for me, I would get up and come to them….so I didn’t have to yell. Then I had a thought. “Why am I the one who has to get up each time and walk to them?” I calmly asked them, “Hey, when you get home from school, will you come and find me?” One step to move us in the direction of exchanging our yelling for our inside voices.
Yelling is common. Regret is just as common.
Women regret the moment after they yell. Many are still licking the wounds of regret decades later.
The impact of yelling is not positive. And yelling is—within our society—becoming an unacceptable behavior.
As with everything, I wish you the best as you explore this topic in your life.
Moms, want more ideas to calm down? Sign up for my free training on May 7 and May 8, 2020: “Be A Calm Mom During Covid-19” at www.aletanorris.com/freetraining.