I think my single biggest fear, is screwing up the lives of my children.
I worry almost constantly about this, because I know the mistakes I've made already and they scare me.
I'm a big time yeller. They are both to the age where the hormones are starting to kick up and the "I'm not listening" bug has infected them both. I'm having a very hard time sometimes, not yelling in order to be heard or to get them to just listen to me.
I've been told by several people that "yelling does no good" - but they fail to offer me any other alternative. Honestly, there are times within the past year or so, that I feel I'm a horrible parent. My son has ADHD and my daughter is a drama queen. When I say that, I don't say it with a hurtful tone at all.. it's just a fact.
Regardless - the cycle I've noticed myself in is: I tell my kids to do something and they ignore me. I ask again, they ignore me again. I wind up yelling, they wind up back talking, I wind up yelling even MORE, and then they finally do what I've asked them to do in the first place.
I'm really feeling like a nag who can't talk in a normal tone of voice.
One day the kids were fighting amongst themselves ALL day. I'd finally hit my breaking point, so instead of my usual screaming at them to STOP IT - I gave them each a sheet of notebook paper and a pencil. I sat them both down at the dining room table and told them they had to write one nice thing about everyone in our family and then write one thing they wished that person would change about themselves. They had to do this for each other, myself and my husband and lastly, themselves.
What my daughter wrote, struck me:
Mom - Mom fixes me food. I wish she'd quit yelling.
I thought... wow. The one nice thing about me is I fix food? I wasn't sure what to think about that..... anyway, here's what she wrote about her brother:
Brother - He makes me laugh, but I wish he'd stop yelling at mom.
Now, the last thing on this earth that I want to do, is produce a childhood that leaves my children broken individuals. I realize a lot of their behavior comes with the age, etc.... but I just wish sometimes that I knew how to cope better. I didn't have a very good model and I sure as hell don't want to go down that road. My mom also, yelled a lot. My dad beat, my mom yelled. I don't want to be like either of them.
I've tried making reward charts for doing what you're asked the first time, completing chores, etc... I've tried paying for helping out around the house.... I've tried the, "wait till your father gets home" bit.. which by the way, I particularly hate because I remember that causing me major unrest when I was a kid.
Seeing certain patterns surface from my own upbringing, makes me scared of what I'm capable of. Let me clarify - I sometimes get so upset that my children aren't listening to me that I can actually feel the anger swell inside of me. My scalp will tingle and I'm betting that if I had a blood pressure cuff on my arm at that moment, my BP would be through the roof. That scares the hell out of me. It's normally then, that I have to distance myself and go to my bedroom and take five. It still doesn't change the fact, that I feel so much anger.... that's what I want to get a hold on....
I don't ever remember being told that I was loved as a child, by either of them - and I know it hasn't happened since I've been an adult, either.
At least my children will grow up knowing that their father and I loved them dearly.