{Sometimes} My S.P.D. Makes Me YELL at My Kids

Below is an excerpt from my book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” I post it here because it is an important story to share and not just because sharing it gives me more strength to cope, but also and more so because sharing it will hopefully help you gain insight into some of your kid’s (and maybe your) behaviors. My hope is that said insight will help you gain empathy for your child’s sensory-related behavior and therefore help you “Yell Less, Love More.” My other hope is that if you comment, you comment with kindness and not judgement.

I am going to let you in on a very personal struggle, one that I have only shared with a handful of people in my life because it is so embarrassing and frustrating that I have just hid it and ignored it for years. Oh, how I hoped that it would just magically disappear and that I would finally be free of the pain and shame I feel whenever the struggle rears its wicked ugly head, which is at least three or four times a day. But it never disappeared and once I started the Orange Rhino Challenge, I could no longer hide from it, or run from it. When I started tracking my triggers and gaining deeper awareness as to what made me explode, I discovered—or rather, was finally forced to admit—that this little struggle of mine wasn’t just real, but it was also a really big (like gargantuan) trigger. Yes, there was no ignoring the fact that if I wanted to stop yelling, I needed to start managing this struggle of mine STAT no matter how hard it was.

Ya’ ready for my struggle?

I have Sensory Processing Disorder, also know as S.P.D.

Um, what the heck does that mean, you ask?

Block out NoiseIt means that I have “sensory attacks,” brought on by any, or all, of my five senses being overloaded to the point where I can’t keep myself together and I go from calm(ish) to anything-but in a split second. It might come on from too much noise or too much chaos, or maybe I feel too hot or my clothes feel too tight or itchy, or maybe I taste a mushy food or smell a disgusting odor, or maybe it is a combination of all of the above that sends my body “under attack.” Sometimes the attacks come completely out of the blue; sometimes I sense they are coming. Either way, I respond in what feels to be a very irrational, very over-the-top way. It can take thirty minutes to an entire day to feel calm again and in control of my body (and it takes a lot longer to forget the embarrassment and disgrace I feel for losing it).

During a “sensory attack,” I literally feel the physical desire to lose it in a rather aggressive manner. I feel like the inside of my body is on fire, that my body is trying to burn my skin so that it can get out and escape. I feel like I want to run away at full speed and keep running until I cool down, until my heart stops beating so hard my chest hurts, until my skin stops itching so much that I want to tear it off, until the intensity that overwhelmed me stops. My body, my mind, and my soul want to flee the intense physical response and displeasure they feel from the sensory attack, but they can’t.

I feel trapped and that’s because I am trapped, trapped at the mercy of the “sensory attack,” and all I can do once an attack has hit is to wait it out. And since I can’t flee the pain or the frustration, I fight. I fight my body by throwing things. I fight my body by crying. I have even fought my body by pulling my hair, by hitting my head. And I fight by yelling.

a text block-19I would love to write that my children have never witnessed one of my attacks, that they never saw me shove my dinner plate across the table and then refuse to eat because my Italian sausage was just the wrong texture at the wrong time. I would love to write that my boys never saw me tear a brand-new (and very fashionable and cool!) scarf off from around my neck and throw it in the garbage while yelling, “I hate clothes. Hate them, hate them, hate them! Nothing every feels right!” I would love to write that they never watched me go berserk when my husband turned on a sports radio show to catch “the big game” and all the scratchy noise of the poor reception made me start screaming at him uncontrollably to turn it off before I exploded. Yeah, I would love to say they have never witnessed any of the above, but that would be a lie.

And I would love, even more so, to write that my children were never the targets of one of my sensory attacks, but that would also be a lie. The bad news is that they have indeed been on the receiving end of one of my sensory moments, but the good news (okay, better than bad news) is that at least it was yelling and not worse. Oh, oh, how I have screamed bloody murder at them when my body just couldn’t handle another noise, no matter how discreet or unintentional.

I have yelled, “Back up now, or else!” when my kids innocently chewed popcorn near me, not next to me, but just near me, and with their mouths open so that I could hear every crunch.

I have yelled, “Be quiet NOW, it is just too much! I can’t stand it. I am going to leave!” when all my boys are talking at once and getting louder and louder so that they can each be heard over each other.

I have yelled, “Okay, enough of the hugging! I don’t want to be touched anymore! Get off of me!” Yeah, that was an awful thing to say, and worse, I have said it a lot.

And I have yelled at myself after the fact, “Get a grip! All you want is for your kids to be quiet and not overly playful because you can’t handle noise and chaos. Then why did you have kids?! And four of them?! All you do is constantly squash their joy and enthusiasm just because mommy can’t handle it. Seriously?” I have tried so hard my entire life to keep my S.P.D. under control and hidden. And when I became a mom, I did learn to control it better because there is nothing I wanted more than to love my kids and not unleash my wrath on them. And I did keep it under control many moments. But yes, there were moments that I didn’t, and those left me beyond humiliated, beyond discouraged, beyond heartbroken. What kind of example was I setting?!

But the good news, yes, the really good news, is that the Orange Rhino Challenge forced me to finally manage my S.P.D. My S.P.D. no longer causes me to Y.E.L.L.—yell exceptionally long and loud—because tracking my triggers increased my awareness and forced me to figure out how to manage this really big trigger.And luckily for me, at the same time that I became aware of and accepted my S.P.D. as a trigger, one of my sons started some occupational therapy for his own struggles with S.P.D. Everything he learned, everything he told me, and every exercise we did together to “help him” actually helped me learn how to manage my own S.P.D.

Tip #2I learned to do push-ups when I felt an attack coming on.

I learned to put earmuffs on when the noise overwhelmed me.

I learned to pull my fingers gently to calm down.

I learned to eat crunchy foods like apples to organize my mind when it felt fried.

I learned to take deep breaths, even though I hated to, big-time.

I learned to prioritize sleep because it is key to regulating my mood.

In fact, all these little tricks worked so well to help me cool down and prevent and put out sensory attacks that I decided to try them to help me cool down and prevent and put out yelling attacks as well. Well, wouldn’t you know … my S.P.D. tricks work great on Y.E.L.L. attacks too!

Looking back, learning to manage my S.P.D. has been a heck of a lot easier than I expected. Have I been able to make it completely disappear, as I have dreamed of for years? No, I am just the Orange Rhino, not a fairy godmother! But, but, in finally having a more complete awareness of the depth of the problem, I was able to start actually managing it to the point where it is no longer as major an issue, which let me tell you, is nothing short of awesome.Not only am I not yelling at my kids unnecessarily, but also I am much more able to model how to control emotions and calm down. This helps me sleep way better at night.

 YLLMcrop2“Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” is a 30-Day Guide complete with 100 Alternatives to Yelling, Simple Steps to Follow, and Honest Stories to Inspire you on your own journey. It is available for sale now at all favorite on-line retailers and in select stores. Click here to order from your favorite site.

“Yell Less, Love More” A Non-Judgemental, Loving, Motivational and Humorous Parenting Book

Release Day Photo!Thank you to everyone who has read my book and shared such touching and glowing reviews. It means the world to me! If you would like to get your own copy of the book so you can share your review, you can order it anywhere online. Top places are listed here: www.TheOrangeRhino.com/the-book






Source: Hands Free Mama

Source: Hands Free Mama

“Yell Less, Love More yanks the cover of shame off yelling in a way that I have never experienced before. Through powerfully honest anecdotes from her personal journey, Sheila McCraith empowers, inspires, and heals the person holding this book. With every turn of the page, you are reminded that you are not alone, and there is hope. Yell Less, Love More will help you choose a more peaceful response in times of stress and overwhelm, but it doesn’t end there. This book will enhance every aspect of your life by enriching your relationships, your health, and your happiness. This book is a life-changing gift.”
– Rachel Macy Stafford
New York Times Best-selling Author of Hands Free Mama



Source: www.ahaparenting.com

Source: AHA! Parenting

“If you want to stop yelling at your kids, this is the book for you. There’s a reason parents flock to read the Orange Rhino online – she helps us feel better about ourselves as parents when we blow it entirely – and who doesn’t, sometimes? She inspires us to dig deep and try again. But as delightful as this book is to read, it isn’t just a feel-good book. It’s a full-blown program to stop yelling, complete with day-by-day action steps, revelations, and original, powerful tips. Yelling is a hard habit to break, and we have to work on ourselves as well as change how we interact with our children. As you follow this program, you’ll be able to feel your brain rewiring. And in a few months, you’ll look back and realize you can’t remember the last time you yelled. Well-organized, motivational, funny, supportive, and EFFECTIVE!”
– Dr. Laura Markham, www.ahaparenting.com


She Just Glows Janie“In it, she makes some pretty dark confessions (like that she once dented her wall in a sippy-cup-throwing rage), and by 20 pages in, you trust her completely. She is you. She is a loving yet flawed, passionate yet frustrated, authentic yet human mother who’s trying as hard as she can to show grace to her children, even on the days when she really just wants to scream in their face. By the end of the book, her brave confessions about real-life mommyhood, paired with her accessible, no-yell application points at the end of each chapter, accumulate to make you feel that it’s possible for you to get through the next hour without yelling at your kids. And then, who knows, maybe the whole day, week, month and year.”
– Janie from www.SheJustGlows.com


trueparentingredcrop“Sheila from Orange Rhino has a fabulous way of helping readers feel safe and capable of reaching their goal of not yelling. She invites you into her story, gently takes you by the hand and shows you the way to overcome your compulsive outbursts. She doesn’t scold you or demand that you change overnight. Rather, she explains she is right there with you experiencing victories and setbacks. Her stories share the new found joys that come from a life without the yelling. Her determination to get up again and again helps you realize you are not alone in your struggle against yelling.”
– Andy from www.TRUparenting.net


“This book is a lifeline to regain hold of your sanity and help you stop yelling at your children. With Sheila’s practical and doable ideas you can uncover the calm and caring parent you always hoped you’d be. She doesn’t make you feel guilty; she empowers you and shows you how anyone can start from today and truly Yell Less and Love More.”
– Alissa Marquess, founder/editor of CreativeWithKids.com


Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.01.05 PMYell Less, Love More is a quick-witted and lighthearted read written by a mom who has been there and isn’t afraid to bare all, from her fist-pumping wins to her most embarrassing lows. Sheila doesn’t sugarcoat or finger-wag, she walks with you. I finished the book with an overwhelming feeling that I can do this; I can yell less and show my kids that love is what I have for them. This book is how we’re all going to get there – sanity, humor, and heart all intact.”
– Galit Breen, blogger, writer, mama of three, and converted yeller


“I loved every word of this book. Sheila’s advice is honest, humorous, and most important, effective! As a clinical social worker and a mother of two young daughters, I highly recommend Yell Less, Love Moreboth personally and professionally.”
– Carla Naumburg, Ph.D., author of Parenting in the Present Moment


Honest Parenthood JessicaUnlike how I feel reading most other parenting books, Yell Less, Love More felt like spending time with a friend who is both compassionate and courageous.”
– Dr. Jessica from www.HonestParenthood.com


“You’ll find yourself in these pages. The honesty and self-revelations that Sheila shares are genuine and authentic. She’s very brave to be so honest and she encourages you to find that strength in yourself. For me, The Orange Rhino Challenge…is like that non-judgmental friend who always says the right thing at the right time. It was so helpful for me on this journey.”
– Anna from www.TodaysMama.com


More than once, a poignant story she shared brought me to tears.  She mixes a touch of comedy with her endearing realness in describing her journey as the original Orange Rhino. Her story never comes across as pompous or superior, just another mom in the trenches, struggling to make it through the day. Or just breakfast.”
– Suzanne, Orange Rhino


JillyHeader“If you struggle like I do and are looking for a book to bring more peace into your home and your life, and to help you tackle the “yelling monster”, you have to get this book! It is one of the best books on parenting I have ever read.”
– Jillian from www.HiItsJilly.com


“It is like talking to Sheila in person. Like sharing those down and dirty parenting secrets with your best friend. Those secrets you would never share at book club or bible study because they make you feel that embarrassed! In Sheila’s book, Yell Less Love More, you get to take that journey with her in a safe no guilt place! This isn’t about making ourselves feel bad about what we have done, it’s about discovering ourselves and learning a new way to walk through our days with our kids, our spouses and ourselves! It is brilliant!”
– Joanne, Orange Rhino


“There are only positives to this book. It is set up as daily chapters of 3-4 pages each.  This is great for the busy, tired parent who doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to reading each day. The daily tasks don’t take a lot of time, but are so very insightful.”
– Island Mama, Orange Rhino


“With wisdom and humor, Sheila quickly becomes an encouraging friend and mentor who gently teaches you how to manage your frustrations while building your self-confidence. You’ll have fun reading this ultimate self-help book and will find yourself turning to it for love, support, and guidance when you fear you may be losing ground.
– Laura Deutsch, co-founder of Mommybites (mommybites.com)


“An inspiring and realistic program for the busy parent who wants to ‘Yell Less, Love More.”
– Melissa, Orange Rhino 


10342427_10152165808335028_5885805031878323622_n“She shares honest moments from her failures to stop yelling, making me feel like I’m not alone in occasionally having a mommy meltdown.”
– Shell from www.ThingsICan’tSay.com



Umbrella Tree Amy“Sheila isn’t a parenting ‘expert’ any more than the next mom. Yes, she has 4 boys, which alone makes her highly qualified to write on the topic. But she doesn’t write as an expert and the book never seems ‘judgey.’ It’s real.”
– Amy from www.UmbrellaTreeCafe.com


“Yell Less, Love More” is loaded with so many tips and ideas that can be adapted to fit any family.”
– Carrie, a fellow Orange Rhino
“The Orange Rhino’s (a.k.a. Sheila McCraith’s) parenting guide and memoir, Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids – and How You Can Too!, shares more touching personal stories from her journey to stop yelling as well as manageable actions, practical tips, and genuine, loving support so that you too can succeed on your own journey to yell less.”
– Huffington Post
“An absolute MUST read for all parents. Sheila’s friendly, honest voice is like a dear friend helping you through and cheering you on!” 
– Melissa Kaye, co-founder of Mommy Business (mommybusiness.net) 

“What a blessing! Her story of her ‘need to change’ moment is one that was easy to relate to in that ‘I’ve been right there’ kinda way.”
– Kelly of www.AMothersDesign.com