During our last trip back to Japan, my daughter’s public meltdowns were so bad that there was a dark period of 3-5 days when I was shouting at her everyday. And I’m really ashamed to say this but when we got home, my stress levels just shot through the roof and I would erupt and literally have a standing shouting match with her.
Imagine this. In our tiny Tokyo apartment where the walls are paper thin. Me, with mad-angry eyes, red-faced, towering over my daughter and explaining or shouting to her how disappointed I was when she had her public meltdowns. What the hell was I thinking? She probably couldn’t remember why she had that meltdown and my response/ opportunity to turn it into a lesson was probably 5 hours too late.
I hated myself during those days. I hated shouting at my daughter.
I grew up with a mother who shouted a lot. Well, to be fair, she spoke loudly even when she was having a normal conversation. If I think about my childhood and was asked to recall the tender moments and the moments of rage and shouting matches with my mum, I would recall the latter. Well, yes, we tend to recall the negative episodes more but my mum shouted a lot– and that stuck with me.
I don’t want to be that for my daughter. It’s just not the kind of person I want to be. In my current neighbourhood here, there are many mums and grandmothers I see going about, accompanying their kids back from school, crossing the road, going to the shops. And quite often, they are always shouting at their kids, barking commands at their kids. Sometimes, what they say was followed by “I’ll beat you, I tell you”.
But that’s just not the kind of mother I want to be. On a day to day basis, I want to stop the shouting. It makes me sad and guilty afterwards, it scares my daughter and often, reduces her to tears. My physical body probably can’t take the stress so I should just can it. Unless she is in immediate danger, I no longer want to shout at her to discipline her, or get her to do things. I will find alternative ways. It may be tiring, but I will find a way.
It’s been more than a month now since I made my resolve not to shout at my daughter. And while it has been really hard at times not to lapse, I have seen improvements. She has almost zero meltdowns and our relationship is closer (maybe I’m imagining this) because we talk more, and I’m able to understand what sets her off in ways at times. Maybe some mums see me or this approach as soft but it really is giving the peace I need.
This article on Huff Post by the Orange Rhino really encouraged me to stick to my “No Shouting” policy. To re-cap some of the points mentioned, I agree that it isn’t entirely possible to control my daughter (she is a toddler with limited language articulation) and the only person I can control is myself. She is at such a precarious age where she is observing me, making memories and copying me. The last thing I want to be is a mad raving mum as a memory and non-role model for her.