It Seems I’m Always Yelling
A reader with four boys 8 and under called for help:
I feel like when I talk, no one hears me. So then I yell. My friends call me “The Drill Sergeant Mom“. I am so frustrated.
Wow, do we ever sympathize!
One time, we had a friend — a mother of several girls — tell us we shouldn’t have to raise our voices, ever. “Whisper!” she said. Our boys should learn to listen for the sound of their mother’s voice, and respond right away, she told us.
Never mind that our two-story house is full of upholstered furniture, carpets, and bookcases which absorb half of the sound of any voice from another room. (Melanie once put a police whistle in the master bath, so if she had an emergency she could call for help and actually be heard.) We found that boys create so much noise around themselves (even inside their heads) that speaking softly was simply inaudible to them — they honestly need a louder voice to break through the bubble!
Don’t give a group call – single out an individual. Don’t announce, “I need someone to bring me my car keys.” That almost guarantees that nobody will respond. Instead, pick someone. Say, “Eric!” and get his attention. When he makes eye contact, then give the instruction: “Please bring me my car keys.” That does two things – it makes one person responsible for the task you just assigned, and it makes it easy to remember who you gave the job to. (Too often, I realize something I asked didn’t get done, but I don’t remember who I assigned it to. Maybe it helps to be a little more deliberate.)
Also, remember there’s a difference between “raising your voice” and “yelling.” I think raising the volume of your voice is normal and not usually something to worry much over. Four young boys make a crowd! But “yelling” may be on the edge of losing your temper … never a good thing for a parent. Remember this verse, “…the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” If you find yourself loud, ask yourself which one you’re doing at the moment.
Don’t be put off by comments from parents in different circumstances. A wise man once wrote, “Once I had no children but six theories about raising them. I now have six children and no theories.” (<- Tweet this) We had a friend with several daughters who was blessed with a boy at the end; after a couple of years, she went to all her friends with sons and apologized. “I thought you must be poor parents, with all that noise and energy and dirt going on,” she said. “Now I know.” Often times we really don’t know the challenges our friends are facing, and we should give them the same grace we want for ourselves. Smile, thank them for their concern, and follow what the Scripture and experience tell you!
Related Resource: Many parents struggle with getting through to their boys (and girls!) – and dealing with anger on both sides in that hard to parent nine to twelve or thirteen age. Come join us for Boot Camp 9-12: Getting Geared Up for the Teen Years, a LIVE webinar series that HUNDREDS of parents have found to help them! Click to find out more.
Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie