Here is the low down, I have given up yelling at my kids. It never seems to matter how loud, how often or how many combinations of words I use to try to get them to stop doing whatever it is I want them to stop doing, in the end, it is all in vain. My words, my loudness, and my shaking fists mean nothing to them except more noise in the house. It’s like yelling at a barking dog, all they really hear is their master barking louder than them so they ramp it up and continue to bark even louder.
Many, many moons ago I learned about the primal scream in school, a technique discovered in 1970 by Arthur Janov. I won’t get too in-depth with the boring details and psychobabble but for those interested check it out on the ever-informative Wiki The Primal Scream.
The basic idea is that you get all your built-up neurosis and pain out from past hurtful experiences by screaming and making other aggressive verbal sounds. I have always liked the concept behind this, but have never incorporated into my life, until now. The only thing is that I have made a few alterations to the basis of the original meaning, therefore calling it “The Mommy Primal Scream.”
My verbal aggression is in the form of a very loud, open-mouthed, ear-piercing scream, just like the original definition states. However, the anger, the pain, and the hurt does not come from any past events, it comes from the moment in which I am trapped in. It is the here and now, the kids fighting, whining, screaming, complaining, demanding, climbing and clawing at me, pulling my dress, my shirts, my hair….no matter what, no matter how hard I try, they never seem to be happy, it is never enough and it never matters how loud I scream at them, things never change.
So now I just stand in the middle of the moment, take a few very calming breaths (this part is important) and I let out an excruciatingly loud scream that stops them in their paths. They stare at me with eyes that are wide and full of concern. I can tell they are wondering what will happen next, will mommy fall over, start crying, bang her fists on the wall????? When I am done my scream I simply take a few more calming breaths and walk out of the room leaving the little ones silenced, at least for that moment. It seems to be a very effective technique in that it distracts them from whatever bullshit it was they were carrying on about.
So to all my mommy friends who are sick and tired of yelling actual words in hopes that your kids will listen because your tone is louder, and who are frustrated because it is all to no avail, join me and try the “Mommy Primal Scream”.
P.S. I wrote this entire blog post with The Boy sitting next to (more like on top of me) pretending a piece of crusty pita bread is a car and driving it all over my body……