Thursday, October 01, 2015

Why we don't scream at each other

Jeff and I went to a family counselor a few months ago. I was very proud that coming from a culture where corporal punishment for kids was the norm, I would never raise a hand against my child ... but I found myself raising my voice. And, research upon research shows that yelling has the same effect on a kid's psyche as hitting. So, I dragged Jeff and myself to a professional to gain insight into ways to deal with a headstrong child without losing it every time.

Then, I started reading articles like this:

And, I realized it's not just about yelling at the child, it's also about yeling in the household. So, Jeff and I decided we would NOT yell at each other in front of Oli. Why that distinction? We know we shouldn't yell at each other at all ... however, we are human and sometimes we fail. But, we don't want to fail in that capacity in front of him.

Now, don't get me wrong. We disagree in front of him, we have our discussions. There is no way I want him to think a marriage is all roses and sunshine. There are compromises, there are disagreements, there are disappointments. What there isn't is disrespect, what there isn't is name calling, what there isn't is inequality between the partners. We treat each other as equals who decided to join each other in creating a life together and then bringing another life into being. We re responsible for this new life together and while we might not always agree on ways to deal with his headstrong life form, we do not disrespect each other's opinions and ideas.

Trust me, we infuriate each other all the time. What we don't do is insult each other or each other's opinions. We don't show Oli that it's ok to attack your partner verbally in any sort of agreement. What we don't teach our child is that it's ok to disrespect or insult the one person you've chosen to live the rest of your life with, with the words you chose or actions you make.

What we do or say in front of our children make a deeper impact than we might think in our daily lives. That single harsh word at our partner for loading the dishwasher wrong or the hands thrown up with an intake of breath because I don't like how the bed was made - that kid watches and learns and takes it with him to his future relationships.

Bottom line, I like, love and respect the man I've chosen to live my life with and raise a child with. If I didn't, I wouldn't stay with him. We've needed professional counseling a couple times, no shame in admitting that we are HUMAN, but we're going strong and hopefully showing Oli what a strong, cohesive relationship looks like, whenever he's ready in about 50 years to look for a partner for himself ;-)

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