The Yelling Meter

So, after yesterday's realization that I need some kind of comprehensive definition of what actually constitutes "yelling" I did some thinking, and figured the best definition is whether I feel bad or good about what I'd done or not. That made sense to me... Except for mommy guilt, which makes me feel bad about everything from not buying them the toy they wanted at the store, to feeding the Zoodles for lunch again.

Luckily for me, The Orange Rhino sat down and laid it all out nice and clear for me and all of us yelling parents. I like it. I'm going to copy and paste it here, for my reference:

0 – The everyday voice. The “life is good,” I just love being a mom and having these little conversations voice. Serenity and happiness ooze out with every word. Signs: you think to yourself, wow, this is a nice moment, I think I’ll cherish it and you’re filled with hope that the day is gonna be a good one.
1 – The whisper. The quiet, almost non-audible voice that our pre-school teacher uses that somehow gets attention, respect and follow through. Signs: you can barely hear it and it works like magic.
2 – The re-direct voice. It’s a clear, loving and patient voice that does not show irritation for the situation at hand but instead gently expresses that you don’t like a behavior, why, and offers a new activity. Sign: When you use it you pat yourself on the back for successfully following advice from a parenting magazine, for once.
3 – The firm voice (potentially raised). This is the I am starting-to-mean business voice accompanied with occasional raised eye brows and introduction of idle threats. Signs:  you are still calm and there are no hurt feelings, but you’re wondering when (not if) you’re gonna snap and you are growing impatient, quickly. 
4 – The “oopsie” snap. Stop! Alright! Ouch! This snap is starting to get nasty, but hasn’t gotten there yet. It isn’t a long tirade, it’s just a quick sharp voice where you stop yourself…it’s just enough to make the kids stop what they are doing for a second and think whether or not they will continue annoying behavior. Signs: blood pressure is picking up a little, but you are back to calm quickly and think “oh sh*t I really didn’t mean to do that.”
5 – The nasty snap. Darnit! Knock it off!  Cut it out! This snap might be short, but it’s filled with venom. Signs: blood is starting to boil inside; vocal chords are warming up, preparing for a long tirade; you think to yourself “oh sh*t” was that a nasty snap? If you think it, it was.
6 – The yell.  It’s loud. You know it’s loud. And it’s mean. You simply know you’ve crossed the line, there is no question. Signs: kids tears are a pretty good indicator, as are doors slamming, kids screaming back at you that you’re mean and they don’t love you any more.
7 – The raging scream. A notch up from “the yell.” It’s totally intentional and is filled with much more nastiness, hurtfulness and hysteria – on both sides. Signs: body shaking, often hard to stop doing it; results in feelings of massive guilt and shame in the screamer (at least for me) and definite feelings of shame, sadness, and fear in the kiddos; throat throbs afterwards.

Zero to four is acceptable, five to seven will drop me back to day one on my days of no yelling counter... Which I can move to "1" today. (Look over to your right.) One day of no yelling. It was close though. Hannah is incredibly difficult to deal with sometimes. She screams... A LOT. (I wonder where she got that from?) And she growls at people when she's mad at them. And today she told me she hates me, which she's only done once before. I don't even remember what started it, but I managed to keep my cool. Ben helped, his appalled gasp made me laugh. Ben would NEVER scream that at anyone. Ben. Why can't all of my kids be as easy to turn into nice people as Ben was?


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