I’m listening to The Smiths right now who are one of my all-time favourite bands. While “Bigmouth Strikes Again” is a cool and iconic song (take a listen if you’re not familiar), it reminded me that, so far, my new year’s resolutions are going well. One of my major family goals is to drastically reduce – or better yet, eliminate completely – yelling.
Believe me, I know that yelling isn’t terribly effective or good for anyone. But shouting at kids is different than shouting at another adult. Obviously no one yells for fun or to get their kicks – it’s generally out of exasperation, overwhelm or frustration. It’s learning to stay calm when we’re stressed and not resort to yelling that’s the tricky part.
I’m reminded of an interview I did with Erin Flynn Jay about mothers’ work during economic downturns. Through her research, she discovered that child abuse increases during economically difficult times. Children might sense a parent’s stress and then act out, causing the parent to feel the need to yell or strike back. It’s unfortunately a vicious circle.
Now, none of this is meant to stress anyone (including me) out. But it is a good reminder that our actions and reactions to things do impact our kids – even if we don’t realize it or it doesn’t seem obvious immediately.
One of my other new year’s resolutions is to “think small.” I know that sounds like an oxymoron but, really, it’s meant to celebrate the little things in life. When it comes to parenting, in my view, we need to pat ourselves on the back more and acknowledge that even small successes are still successes – especially when it comes to our or our children’s positive mental health.
If you made any, how are your new year’s resolutions coming along? I’d love to hear about ’em.