I yelled at my kids

Yes, I yelled.

It was this past Friday morning, and both the husband and I had to get to work early.

I had offered to deliver kids to their respective child care programs (S had no school, but was going to Kids After Hours, which he loves!).

We were doing great, with clothes on in record time, and breakfast eaten.

As we opened the door to leave, the heavens opened and rain poured down.

OK, no problem, on went the rain jackets, and rain boots.

But, then, J wanted to carry his own umbrella. And, the umbrella he chose happened to be broken such that it wouldn’t open all the way. And, he wanted to attach a little Uglydoll to the umbrella, which he was struggling with, standing halfway down the walk to our driveway and the car.

I yelled, “J, get in the car now, we need to go!”

He wouldn’t budge, but kept trying to fix his umbrella, getting wetter and wetter (although he had his raincoat hood on, so, not so bad).

“J, I need you to get in the car right now, or I’ll be late for work!” (Although I knew he cares nothing about that).

S was in his seat, and I got all the rest of our bags and paraphernalia into the car, and I went over and grabbed J bodily, umbrella, Uglydoll and all, and loaded him forcibly into his seat, unfortunately bumping his head on the way into the car, which just made the screaming increase!

And, yes, at this point, I was yelling at him to “Please be quiet, I need to go!!”.

I strapped him in, and went round to the front passenger door, which was still open, and slammed it shut, and also slammed J’s door shut, in frustration and, yes, anger.

S immediately went into his Mom’s-angry-so-let’s-behave-and-it’ll-pass mode, which immediately helped me to calm down (although J was totally oblivious, and kept on screaming). We drove to S’s school and dropped him off, and, as I walked him up to the building, I thanked him for being such a kind big brother, and gave him a kiss. He said “You’re welcome, Mommy”, and trotted happily in to join his friends.

I returned to the car, where J was finally calming down, and we ended up singing songs on our way to his school.

That night was my turn to get the kids changed for bed and read to them, and we three ended up in a giggle fit, because both boys teased me by mimicking my yelling! They each pretended to be “angry mommy”, and demonstrated how I yell when I get mad.

I really feel pleased with this lesson, because I think it’s really important that my kids know that it’s really OK to feel and express any emotion, happiness, anger, sadness, bewilderment, confusion – that it’s all a part of who we are, and that the world doesn’t end, and I don’t stop loving them, just because I got angry with them. I wouldn’t want to be angry all the time, and I’m glad that its rare that I “lose it” with them the way I did two mornings ago, but I’m glad we can laugh about it.

2 thoughts on “I yelled at my kids

  1. Mary F. Meyerson says:

    Your openness and honesty model for all of us how "grown ups" (not just people who've reached the age of majority, but people who are really able to act in a grown up manner) can acknowledge all of their feelings and emotions. Thanks, Janaki!

    1. Janaki says:

      thank YOU, Mary – that means so much to me, coming from you with your expertise with children, and as an educator.

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