Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Just a Yeller...

An anonymous friend posed a really great question last week that I've decided to tackle this morning. I don't really want to talk about anger today because, well, I've been feeling pretty pi#%ed off with my kids all week. Which means, as much as I don't feel like talking about it, I probably should.

Our friend asked, When and how did you discover that you were angry, and not just doing what Moms have to do - yell at our kids to get them to do anything?

Can I be to-the-gut point-blank honest here? For me as much as for you? Thanks...

The fact of the matter is, we moms do NOT have to yell at our kids to get them to listen to us. While certain circumstances will require a raised voice (safety concerns, a massive brawl of 14 children that needs to be stopped, a generally loud situation), if it seems as though every circumstance is one of those, we need to take that as our first clue that something is amiss. A raised voice should be the exception, not the rule.  If we are yelling regularly, we have a problem.

If you were a fly on my wall, you would likely listen in on the odd conversation between Pat and I where one of us is asking, "Why do we have to yell at the kids to get them to listen and obey?" It's one that we revisit more regularly than I'd like. Really, though, we both know the answer... If we need to yell at our kids to make them listen and obey, it is because we have taught them that they don't have to listen or obey until/unless we are yelling.

I assure you, I am the last person who will ever pass judgement on another mother! I know how hopeless it feels, how impossible it looks. I am the queen of yelling and swearing, and I often catch myself thinking, "I am never going to be able to NOT yell!" So as you read my gut-honest words, do not feel condemned. Everyone has their issues...anger happens to be ours.

If you think you may have anger issues but are not totally sure, here are seven questions you can ask yourself:
1. Have I ever told myself or someone else, "I'm a yeller. That's just who I am."?
2. Have I ever had the urge to hurl an object across the room in frustration?
3. Whether or not I speak them, do I think curse words in my head when I'm frustrated?
4. If my child(ren) does thinks like slamming doors and shouting, "I hate you!" am I tempted to respond with those same words and reactions?
5. Do I frequently find myself feeling annoyed with my children's constant interruptions and requests?
6. Do I sometimes react in ways that are disproportionate to the situation? (For example, feeling truly angry about a spilled cup of juice.)
7. Am I a different mother behind closed doors than I am out in public?

There's no magic formula, no points system, but if you found yourself answering "yes" to a few of those questions, it's probably time to get alone with God and ask Him if you have a problem with mommy anger.

And you know that hopeless, impossible thing? For the record, that's a lie. It's a big, fat, ugly lie that Satan wants us to believe so that we don't even try to overcome this struggle. Victory is possible. I believe it with everything in me. If I didn't, I wouldn't be out here on the World Wide Web (and hopefully, eventually in book format) publishing all my shortcomings for the world to see. The only way it's hopeless and impossible is if we try to do it on our own.

For nothing is impossible with God.
~Luke 1:37 (NLT)

Because I hate to leave you hanging here with a bunch of unanswered questions, here are some posts that I hope will help...

Seven Steps to Stop Anger in its Tracks - help for the heat of the moment

How to Help an Angry Mom, parts three and four - help for the parent who doesn't know what to do instead of yelling

What to do When You Mess Up - help for those times when we "fall off the wagon"

Why I'm Writing About my Anger - to answer your other question, Why do you want to write a book? (specifically this book)


  1. I sure appreciate knowing I'm not the only mom who gets angry!

  2. Back in 2007, I wrote a post on this same topic. I hope you don't mind if I provide the link here for you to read and see what you think:

    It's an important topic to discuss openly and honestly among moms. I'm glad you've brought it up for your readers to ponder and pray about.

  3. I am a yeller. I really am. I come from a family of yeller. But because of wonderful you, I am stopping yelling. All your advice this past year has been invaluable. Yelling is not my first go-to parenting fix anymore. Of course there are times I yell, but they are no longer the norm. Thank you Tyler, keep reaching out. You are making a difference.


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