Tag Archives: behavior modification

40 Days without yelling

Starts now! Well… tomorrow.

Although this Catholic girl may not go to church every Sunday (or any, really) it doesn’t take away from part of my heritage. The Catholic part. The part that taught me every year for 40 days I need to give up meat on Fridays and sacrifice something to make me a better person. I always have a hard time deciding what to give up because if I give up the simple I feel like I haven’t grown in those 40 days and if I’m going to give something up for 40 days, I should get something out of it. To date one of the hardest things I have given up was parmesan cheese. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but this girl has a cheese problem. That little green bottle of “cheese dust” (as Molly calls it) gets put on way too much food. It was a sacrifice!

This year I decided on something that not only will help me shape a new habit but it will rid me of an old one and maybe make my house a happier place. I’m not going to yell, especially at the kids, for 40 days. Not that I yell at them non-stop. Far from it. I’m actually surprised how much patience I’ve gained over the past couple of years, but there are still the moments that I have crossed my threshold and the yelling starts. Unfortunately, I tend to go straight to Jerry Springer guest once the yelling starts. I’m sure it’s not pretty and it’s not what I want my kids to remember, because I know they won’t remember the 30 minutes of carrying on because I accidentally threw away some sacred piece of string they were saving but they will remember how mom just flipped out over nothing. I now understand why my mom once told me “I hope you choke on it!” as I continued to eat snacks before dinner. 

The bigger question is, how do i do this? The answer… I have no idea. I’m hoping some breathing, “mommy time outs” and exercise will keep me going. I also hope that it helps change the dynamic of our house as Stampy is joining in on the challenge. If nothing else I have a built in support system until Easter.

Do you give anything up for Lent? What would your biggest challenge be?

We Don’t Say Those Words

One of my many fails as a mom was my inability to control my potty mouth when Molly was a baby. She had been verbal for way too long as swear words were still flying from my mouth as easily as saying “how was your day?”. In my defense, I did share a rocking chair with my blue mouthed Grammy until I was 6. Some things were bound to wear off on me. Then it happened. My 2 year old said “Jesus Crazus” which was her interpretation of “Jesus Christ”. The bad part was is that I found it somewhat amusing. Not because of what she was saying but how she was saying it. There was a string of exasperation that went along with it, “Oh my! Oh my goodness! Oh my gosh! Oh my Jesus Crazus!”. Plus, she had a look on her face that she knew she was saying something taboo. However,  we couldn’t have her blurting this out at Christian Preschool, so we did what all good parents do when their toddlers say things they shouldn’t, we ignored the behavior.

Only the behavior only got worse.

At first she banged her head into the door and said “shit” as she walked away. I couldn’t hide from that one, she was imitating me. But it didn’t end there. I was explaining to her about God, she asked “like God Dammit?”. I said “well, yes, but he doesn’t use his last name”. This one could’ve been either Stampy or myself, but it was probably me. Still, we were trying to ignore the words as they came out. I mean, if you don’t react to the behavior should stop, right??

Nope. It gets worse.

My sweet little girl said it. She said the F bomb. She used it correctly. Then she said it again. And Again. And Again. In fact, last year on our vacation trip she shut herself in the bathroom and preceded to scream it at the top of her lungs multiple times. We tried ignoring it, she said it more. We tried explaining it wasn’t nice. She continued to say it. The problem when your child is smart is that they know from day 1 that it isn’t ok, and that’s why they do it. And when we ignored it she would keep saying it until we would address it. We were trapped. We were trapped in a F’in horrible situation. We didn’t know what to do. I think they only thing that really worked was divine Jesus Crazus intervention and she eventually moved on to something else to get our attention. Like strangling her brother.

We had our sweet mouth girl back.

Then she turned 4. And the words have become worse.

Shut Up and Stupid.

Now, I might have a potty mouth but I don’t have a mean mouth. We have limits in this house and those 2 words are definitely on the not-under-my-roof-you-don’t type list. I even skip over those words in the Berenstein Bear books. We have had several talks and time outs for using “mean words” and I think it’s working. Last night Molly said “Mom, I’m not going to say shut up. I’m going to tell you that S-H makes the ‘sh’ sound and that’s the sound that begins shut up” and continued with her dinner. Yup. She gets it. And she gets how she can get away with saying the black listed words without getting into trouble. She’s 4. I have a long road ahead of me.

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What words on your “black list”?