Over these couple of months, I have learnt a couple of things along the way on my no mad-yell journey. I have since restarted my journey (twice over!) and am still battling the mad-yell monster in me (ha). Slowly but surely, I have realised that I am in better control of my emotions these days and I wanted to share my tips / experience and thoughts on this.
:: 1. Be aware (of your state-of-mind and of fatigue)
This to me, is the most fundamental and important part. Be aware and be honest about your feelings - honest to yourself and to your child. When I find myself suddenly being very impatient, I try to take a step back and think what has me being so edgy. Often times, it is not the kid. YUP, YOU READ IT RIGHT. Often times, it is not Dumpling but rather, I might be tired / upset over some other matters and have not quite dealt with those negative feelings. So, when she starts acting up, my reaction would be fast and literally furious.
:: 2. Take me-time
This works very well for me. This is especially when I had a bad day and I am already edgy to start the evening (and homeschool) off so the me-time is important for me to deal with the issues / feelings on hand. I may take the time to rant with friends or catch on my blog / FB to take the edge off. Of course the occasional glass of Choya (or wine, or Sangria or all!) helps too!
:: 3. Making an effort in the choice of words (and tone)
Cutting words from loved ones often affect us the most. I have a tendency to be curt with my words unknowingly because I am a pretty direct person. Having been blessed with a emotionally intense child gives me another challenge because she can get pretty sensitive over my choice of words. I am also mindful not to unknowingly create any self esteem issues when she grows up too. So, I have learnt to slow down in my thoughts and words. I learnt that when I tend to run through errands and tasks like a hurricane, I tend to be less careful with my words.
:: 4. They watch you like a HAWK!
Now, why is this scary? Because, if you have a kiddo like mine, you must be mindful that they model behaviour. During one of my recent music practice at home, I was trying to get Dumpling's attention and despite me calling her a few times, she did not respond. Frustrated, I took 2 sheets of scores (so that I can reach her) to tap her on her head. LO AND BEHOLD, the next day, she modeled that behaviour BUT 'only' with a book where she promptly whacked the uncle across his head.
:: 5. Time out - for me!
I have told Dumpling to help us along by giving her code words to use. At the moment, our code words are "Caramel Chocolate" which basically means that I am getting louder, my tone is sharper and basically to back off and calm down. The code words are meant to be funny which then throws me off course so that helps. :) At times, she will just tell me upfront to calm down and I am ok with it too.
I have learnt that it is perfectly ok for Dumpling to see me manage my anger / frustration (because hey, us adults have troubles at times dealing with BIG feelings too) and that we manage it positively. Because I am mindful that she will (yes, she WILL) model my behaviour so if I were to mad-yell, what example am I setting her? If I am still unable to calm down, I will tell her that we will take TIME OUT! This is usually a 5 mins breather where the chocolate caramel comes in handy for me :) When all else fails, chocolate is supposed to release endorphins no?
So at times, if you are struggling like me, hang in there, breathe, work through these 5-steps one day at a time. And oh, standby the chocolates :)