“Mom, today was a really bad day,” my son told me while we were picking up a pizza on a busy Saturday night. I asked him why, and he told him me about the 2 things he did earlier in the day that he was punished for. Then he added a third, but this time his focus was on my reaction to what he did rather than his behavior. He told me I yelled at him.
My heart sunk.
I have been working really hard over the last two years to stop speaking disrespectfully to my children. I’m trying not to yell at, be sarcastic with, or talk down to my kids in a belittling manor. I’ve been doing pretty well, but obviously I still have work to do. I find that I do better at not yelling and not being sarcastic with them than I do at not talking down to and belittling them.
We had a guest speaker at church a while back; he preached on sin and struggle. He surprised me by being really open with a sin he struggled with earlier in his life and sins that he currently struggles with. He was very open and honest. It was refreshing!
He talked about the cycle of sin and the process of restoration. His testimony of God’s grace and redemption was beautiful.
He asked us to write down a sin that we struggle with. I immediately wrote down “yelling when angry.” I always tell my kids that being angry is not sinful, but we can sin when we don’t control our anger. This is my struggle.
I’ve always had a problem with controlling my anger. I can remember going to my room as a child when I was angry; I would tear up paper into tiny bits or pull on the carpet until my anger subsided. I knew not to scream at or talk back to my dad. He would “tan my hide” or ground me for a month if I did. So I would hold it in until I was in the privacy of my room. This was not the best way to deal with it. As I grew older I would bite my tongue or cheek to hold it in. But every so often, I could not push the anger away. I have memories of screaming at my best friend in 6th grade. I yelled so loud that a band across the parking lot stopped playing their music so someone could make sure everything was okay. Yikes! And in college, I became so mad at my dad one day that I threw a desk chair across my dorm room. To say I have struggled with controlling my anger is an understatement.
After the chair incident, I walked to a local bookstore and bought a self-help book for anger and anxiety. It offered some good suggestions, and I thought I had it under control.
Then I gave birth to my second child, a little spit fire named Huck. He takes after me with his temperament. The difference is he doesn’t hold in his anger until he explodes, he just explodes. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes multiple times per day. His lack of anger management brings out the worst in me. When his anger explodes, mine wants to explode right along with him. Thankfully, I’ve realized that his explosions trigger my anger and I am working on being better.
Four years ago, when my husband and I began going to counseling to save our marriage, I realized just how much I struggle with anxiety and how my anxiety presents itself as anger and frustration. I began working on it with a lot of counseling, and I even took medication for over a year.
Two years ago I found the Orange Rhino. I signed up for her 30 day challenge and made it all the way through it without yelling. I was 8 months pregnant, off my meds, and NOT yelling at my kids. That deserves a big WOOT WOOT! Ha!
I don’t remember how many days I went, but I eventually fell off the wagon. And just like the other day, I keep getting back on. I can say that a long time passes between my yelling incidents, but I still struggle with belittling, sarcastic remarks.
So I’ve started another challenge that will help me cut out the sarcasm and belittling comments. I’m hoping that my kids will join me. It’s a long process but I’m determined to get all of us there.