Welcome to part two of our interview with Sheila McCraith, the author of the upcoming book, Yell Less and Love More. McCraith, the mother of four sons, challenged herself to go a year without yelling at her kids.
She has chronicled that challenge, and other insights about parenting, on her popular blog, the Orange Rhino.
In Part 1 of our interview earlier this week, McCraith talked about how she came up with the Orange Rhino name, the incident that led her to pledge to go a year without yelling, and more.
Here in part 2 of our interview, McCraith provides some advice for parents who are starting their own yell-free challenge, and alerts us to some possible pitfalls we may encounter along the way.
BMBH: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on the 365-day challenge?
Orange Rhino: Here are the 12 “steps” I suggest: http://theorangerhino.com/12-steps-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kid/
And here are 5 nuggets of advice:
- Accept that this is a journey – it will take time but the more you practice, the easier and more natural not yelling will become. Forgive yourself immediately if you yell for dwelling upon it will make you yell more!
- In the beginning, practice yelling away. I started just teaching myself to turn my body away so that I learned to not yell “at” my kids. I would yell into closets, the freezer, the toilet. Any inanimate object without feelings! Soon I felt that I could indeed control myself and I started to just let out an “ahhh!!!” instead of mean words. Then not letting anything out naturally happened!
- Go slow. Start with a small goal that you can achieve so your confidence grows (say, not yelling at breakfast.) As you master that goal, add to it bit by bit.
- Find support. I know telling people you want to yell less is quite difficult, but the support is second to none. Besides, chances are high the person you tell will feel relieved because he/she secretly struggles too!
- Get creative and have fun! Learning to change bad habits can be so serious, boring, overwhelming and monotonous. I found that using out of the box alternatives (posting my kids pictures on their doors so I proceed as gently as I did when they were babies) made the journey feel less like a chore. You can find more alternatives at: http://theorangerhino.com/the-orange-rhinos-top-100-alternatives-to-yelling/
BMBH:Any early pitfalls to watch out for?
OR: There are definitely (unfortunately!) a few early pitfalls to watch out for:
- In the beginning, when you don’t yell, your children might very well challenge you even more. This is normal and not a sign that not yelling isn’t working. They are just testing the boundaries to see how far they can push you! Don’t give in. Stay strong and it will fall into place.
- Quitting! Oh quitting will be tempting! I wanted to quit lots of times. But it is when you most want to quit and you persevere that you will learn the most and become stronger. Plus, the benefits of not yelling are enormous – not just for your kids, but for your family, yourself and your life.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the strong desire to change and the perceived lack of change. Take the challenge one moment at a time. All the moments you don’t tell are a win. They will eventually add up to half days then days then weeks and months. But just focus on the moment in front of you to get there. http://theorangerhino.com/baby-steps-are-big-steps/
The Orange Rhino: A person that parents with warmth and determination and who doesn’t charge with words when angry, impatient, or simply in a bad mood.
Do you often find yourself losing your cool and yelling at your kids? It happens to us all, but it doesn’t have to. With Yell Less, Love More you’ll learn practical, simple solutions to keep you focused on loving more and yelling less, no matter what the circumstance. It is possible to change and enjoy a calmer life because of it!
Take the Orange Rhino 30-day challenge to yell less. In this guidebook to happier parenting, author Sheila McCraith shares daily thoughts, tips, and motivational personal stories to help you toss out the screams and welcome in the peace. Whether you have one child or twenty (or one you still yell at who is twenty), strengthen your relationships and maybe even laugh a little more–by taking the challenge today.