Do I Really Want To Yell?

My name is The Orange Rhino and even though I have gone 415 days without yelling, as you all know, due to a big ‘ole personal challenge, lately I am STRUGGGGLING.

Every morning I wake up and I look at my orange painted toenails and think to myself “I am going to be calm today. I am not going to be grumpy. I am not going to get snap happy and I am not going to yell.”  And then thirty minutes pass and I already feel my blood pressure rising. I feel my palms starting to sweat. I feel my patience waning. I feel myself thinking “UGH. I just want to yell and shout and let it all out!”


I want to yell and shout and let it all out.

But yelling at my boys is not an option I will choose. I simply will not because I know it doesn’t work and just makes me feel crappier. As much as my body thinks that is what I want to do, I know better. I know that yelling is not what I want to do. No, when I feel like I want to yell what I really want is to feel more peaceful inside.

When I want to yell, what I really want is…to feel better.
When I want to yell, what I really want is…to have the house picked up.
When I want to yell, what I really want is…to have the house quieter.
When I want to yell, what I really want is…to release some of my stress.
When I want to yell, what I really want is…to feel in control.
When I want to yell, what I really want is…to feel listened to.
When I want to yell, what I really want is…to cry.
When I want to yell, what I really want is…to get my kids attention.

When I want to yell, what I want, what I really, really want is a loving (easier) moment with my kids instead of the stressful, frustrating, annoying moment that I am currently in.

It is for all of these reasons, that I started doing such silly alternatives to yelling because they allow all of the above to happen, without the yelling. Banging my chest like a gorilla? Gets the built-up stress out. Turning the lights off? Gets my boys to quiet down, instantly. Blowing bubbles? Grabs my kid’s attention. Making a horn with my hand and tooting it? Gets my kids to listen. Yelling into the fridge? Gets me to cool down so that I can calmly asked for the house to get picked up.

Yes, all of my silly alternatives are just that, silly. But they work. They get me to calm down so that I can say what I need to, so that I can do what I need to, so that I can say and do what I know makes me an effective yet peaceful and loving mom.

Like getting down to my kids eye-level and talking to them, asking them to get their shoes…again.

Like asking them why are they crying and whining and then repeating it back to them so that I can have empathy.

Like hugging them when they are frustrated because their brother broke their Lego creation…again.

Like putting my to-do list aside for 5 minutes so that I can really be present and connected with them.

I know (okay well not all the time, okay definitely not all the time) how to be as effective a parent as I can be. But, I can never access that information and do it when I am all worked up in a twit. Nope, can’t do it. So I work to un-twit myself. The other day the boys were running around and screaming and it was driving me so nuts that I wanted to scream “SHUT UP!!!” but instead I decided that I needed to scream and run. So I did. I stopped making breakfast and ran around the house for 2 minutes with my boys. IT ROCKED and was just what I needed. I then said “okay boys, enough running and yelling. We have gotten it out of our system and now it is time to color and be quieter while I make breakfast.” WIN.

There are times of course where it is not as easy to un-twit. When I just truly want to cry. So I do. Yep, I have cried in front of my boys and I am okay with that. When they ask “Mommy, why are you crying?” I just say “Because boys, I am stressed out and having a rough moment. But I feel better now. Thanks for asking about me.”

And there are times when I have no bloody clue what to do because they are so trying and because this is the first time I have been a mom. Yes, I have four boys but oh each ones has different needs; each one I need to respond to a little differently, so no, I don’t always have a clue! Sometimes I don’t know how to help my kids, or how to help myself. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do next. Yeah, these clueless moments are always fun moments {sarcasm font} because it is in those moments that I know I am just a second away from yelling. It is in those moments that I take a deep breath, call a friend, or start talking to myself telling myself that I can do this, telling myself that I WANT TO DO THIS. That I WANT to yell less and love more!

I learned recently that sometimes for lots of different reasons, it is hard to admit what I really want; it is hard to tell the truth to myself. I have also learned that it is hard to go forward when I don’t know what I want, or rather when I am not honest with myself as to what I want.  And I learned that even when I finally know what I want, like to be a non-yelling parent, that I can’t get there if I don’t continually keep reminding myself of what I want.

And well, at the end of the day, what I really want with my kiddos are a bunch more loving moments. I don’t want to yell, I just want a peaceful moment with my kiddos. I want to feel calm inside. I want to laugh with them. I want to smile at them. I want them to trust me. I want them to hug me. I want them to know how very much I love them.

And I want to struggle less than I am right now. I need to remind myself why I am taking The Orange Rhino Challenge so that I stay on task so tonight I am adding to my list of alternatives to yelling. It is both a silly and serious alternative and also per this afternoon, a tested and approved one.

When I really want to yell I am going to add a little Spice Girls into my life. I am going to sing…

“I’ll tell ya what I want, what I really really want, I wanna (huh) have peace and I wanna (huh) love you!”

(And for the record, I never really wanted to bring Spice Girls back into my life. But hey, whatever works!)

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21 thoughts on “Do I Really Want To Yell?

  1. I don’t if even your great post will bring me out of the hole I’m in tonight. What a day! My 6-year-old came into my bed early this morning, loving as usual. But, it seemed like in a flash he changed. I’m not sure what I said or did to cause it, if anything, but he started saying I don’t love him. That’s been something he says lately when he doesn’t get his way or if I lose my cool and yell at him, or even put him in a time out. But this morning, it was like a melt down. He just kept saying he knows I don’t love him. I tried and tried to tell him I do and ask him what I can to do to help him feel how much I love him, and he didn’t really have an answer. I asked if he just wanted to stay home and hang out with me today (instead of going to the library for the free kid’s movie like we planned–I home school). He said yes. So, I got up and figured it would be a good day to color Easter eggs together. But about an hour later, after I decided to forego a shower, since we were staying home anyway, he saw the flyer for the free movie on the table and announced that he DID want to go. So, now it was a mad rush to get ready and make it on time. But, we did. We both enjoyed the movie and things seemed to go well. He even told me a couple times during the movie that he loved me. But, when it was time to go, I felt extremely nautiaous, like I might throw up. He asked if he could stay and play games on the computer and I said no, because I wasn’t feeling well and felt very tired. He asked if he could pick out a book, and I let him. Then he asked if he could pick out a movie, and I let him, even though I was feeling sicker by the moment. Then when I was checking them out, I turned and found him on the computer. I had to go over and take the headphones off of his head. He got up and ran away from me and would not come back. In fact, he thought it was hysterically funny as he ran up and down the aisles of books and avoiding me. I even went outside to see if he’d get worried that I left, and come out on his own. Plus, I needed some air. Then he spotted me through the window and was knocking on the window and laughing at me like it was some great game. I was so angry at him, and I was hurt that he didn’t even care that I was sick. I ended up chasing and catching him eventually and practically dragging him to the car. I’m ashamed to admit it, I not only yelled at him, but I spanked him in the car. To which, of course, he started saying “I knew you didn’t love me.” I’ve been depressed the rest of the day, and because I feel really sick still, I haven’t been able to pull myself out of it. Also, I know this is terrible, I’m still so mad at him, because I try so hard to make him happy and make him feel loved, and then he seems to have no regard for me or my feelings at all. Then my intellectual side kicks in and says “well, he IS 6!” I’m not sure I’m going to be up to this orange rhino challenge….

    • You should check out Hand in Hand Parenting.
      They have a great system that I’ve found really works with my son. It’s about allowing him to release his fears (which is what he’s expressing in his words and behavior) through tantrums and play in a way that will bring you closer. Just wanted to share, since it’s worked so well for us.

      • You are not alone … reading your post made me think of just the other day in the grocery store I flipped out and we left in a big huff (because my ds pushed the cart into a display). I love hand in hand parenting (also another aha Parenting on fb) but it takes practice and it takes “me time” and a little “one on one time” … also kids give us cues when they need emotional bonding … like that morning when he told you that … he needed to cry and release some big feelings … we learn more about how to let them have them and them … if you don’t or can’t at the moment then they will still be pushing your buttons like later in the library. Complete empathy for your feeling nausea and sick. Ah, it’s good to know we are not alone. We can just try a new every day. With this challenge and others we are learning and teaching our kids how to be human. Blessings!

        • I checked out the Hand to Hand parenting website and it looked pretty good, but it seemed like you had to pay for all the info and I’m broke right now… It reminded me of the approach I’m reading about in a book now called “Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.” Similar approach. It’s so hard to do when I’m always exhausted and don’t get a break, but I’m trying. Today went better, and when I was putting him to bed and playing with his hair, he said “maybe you DO love me.” One minute he says I’m the sweetest, best mommy in the world, and the next, I’m mean and I hate him. Ahhhh, parenting.

    • I have found what worked with my daughter who started doing a similar “nobody loves me” thing or the infamous, “you hate me,” is actually give her less choices and less power. I started saying things like, “I am sorry you feel that way, Of course I love you.” or “hearing that makes me very sad because I love you a whole bunch,” and then ignoring any further protests. It took about a month but she finally snapped out of it because she realized I wasn’t going to give it any attention….but inside it grated me…A LOT!

      • Thanks Amie, I considered just ignoring after telling him once that I DO love him, but it’s hard because it seems like he really believes I don’t love him in the moment, and I hate that for him. I want him to feel loved. I’m sure as a single mother, who does yell and over-react sometimes, that I have my own issues with guilt too. I’m going to try saying it once and then ignoring it…thanks. Kelly

        I really like this site, because here, a lot of the mothers are extremely judgmental and I’m either too lenient or too harsh….

    • I wish I could give you a hug. I know of which you speak and I feel the hurt in your heart. I needed to have a do over by 9am this morning. It’s gonna be ok. From the wise words of Scarlett O’Hara: “Fiddlely-Dee…..tomorrow is another day”. The hardest thing for me is forgiving myself when I have a day like today – like the day you had. But forgive yourself. And start fresh tomorrow. That is what I am going to do. Thank you for your honesty.

      • Thanks Deanna. Yeah, it’s taken me a while to realize that when I keep beating myself up, it doesn’t help my son at all, because then I feel worse, and when I feel bad, it comes across to him in one way or another….

    • My WORST trigger for yelling (and screaming!) is when I’m really feeling SOO serious about a situation, getting angry, and then my kid LAUGHS at me. Nothing makes me lose my cool faster! And the running away thing?? Man. Get ready for crazy mean mom, cause here she comes. I’ve stopped myself from slapping my 3-yr-old just in the nick of time, more frequently than I care to admit. (and the time I didn’t stop myself… well, that’s when I googled “stop yelling at my kids” and found this site!! Thank you, Orange Rhino!) So hard to remain calm, when someone is laughing at you, and if you were feeling sick, even worse! I feel for you. I *know* he knows you love him. But it’s so hard. And kids *do* have empathy, but sometimes they can be breathtakingly selfish. Hang in there, mama – you can do it!!!

  2. This totally resonates with me! Thank you so much for sharing. Of course, now I have the Spice Girls stuck in my head…..but….it’s all good hahaha

  3. To Chemfreemom: you’re not alone. I’ve never heard of this site or challenge until yesterday and I have to say that I am surprised at how many people feel the same way. I thought I was one of the few – everyone else having these perfect kids and never, ever yelling at them. “Challenge” is putting it mildly. I try, but with three kids 6 and under, I’m at a clear disadvantage. I know we’re the adults but when we’re tired, have had no “me time”, when the kids keep running around during bedtime even after I’ve told them for the billionth time to go to bed, when the youngest says he’s hungry even though we just finished dinner 10 minutes ago (and he chose not to eat what was in front of him), and the day seems like it will last forever, it doesn’t help. Each family circumstance is different and I’m glad to have found this site where people share “the real story” – not the Hollywood version where everything is perfect (think Stepford) and everyone’s child is an angel. This is reality.

    To Orange Rhino: Many thanks for being willing to share your struggles, telling the real story, and helping others in the same predicament. You’re right, each child is so different. “Sarcasm font”? Genius! 🙂

    • Thanks Natalija. I don’t know how people do it with even more than one kid! Of course, I’m a single mother and don’t have any family here, and I homeschool, so NO BREAKS, but still, even if circumstances were different I’m not sure I could handle more than one. Although, I fantasize that then they’d play with each other and I’d have MORE time to myself, but that’s probably not true…

  4. to chemfreemom: i totally hear you about having less patience when sick…i’ve been sick for days and my daughter (3) is going thru her terrible threes right now — whiny crying for no reason. Last night she decides to wake up at 3am asking for milk (something she usually doesn’t do but she has a cold too) and while i sleepily got up and get it for she didn’t like how i did it and had wanted daddy to do it and starts screaming crying waking us all up (my 5 yr old son included) — i was so angry – sleepy and sick – i yelled at her to stop crying (something i shouldn’t have done and put her in a time out in a corner of the room – she did stop crying at that point and didn’t fully wake up my son but i felt like there should have been a better way to handle that situation) – sigh, i had gone from 4 days yell free to back to 0. starting another week goal tomorrow.

  5. If you want a child’s attention….try a whisper!
    If you want a child’s attention….pick up the phone…and walk into a different room!
    They’ll want your attention! They’ll find you!

  6. Orange Rhino you continue to inspire me to yell less. One thing I always tell myself when I fail is to ask my kids for forgiveness. It does wonders for them (hey they get to see someone modeling being sorry) and it does wonders for me (i can be forgiven for my horrible attitude) keep up your good work through your very awesome blog!

  7. So glad I found your site. I have struggled with this for along time now and this is the first place I’ve found like this. One thing that has made the most difference for me is when I do yell, I not only apologize but also have a complete do over. I have to repeat everything I said in a nicer way. It has started helping me remember to calm down when I start to yell. Changing a bad habit does take a long time!

  8. Hi!
    I just passed one week if no yelling and I feel so much better. I’ve had three close calls and today was difficult. My oldest daughter (4 and a half) is quite obstinate. My question is, how do you remain calm and keep composure whe. A child is saying no to your face and refusing to stay in their room when you are calmly putting them there. I just feel totally disrespected and defeated…but proud for not yelling!
    Evie Abby Mommy

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