Sep 21, 2014

To shout, or not to shout!

A very intelligent neighbor of mine once asked me ‘Do you know the secret behind Lata Mangeshkar’s melodious voice even at this age?’ I was still thinking of some answer which that intelligent lady would approve of, and she had me splitting with laughter with her answer- ‘she has no kids!”

Great joke, but how true it is! Women, after becoming mothers, just transform so much! There are days in every woman’s life when she is the perfect, demure lover/wife whose voice drips honey as she speaks! And a few years later, when you see the same woman with a kid or two in tow, she is a totally different woman! Not just physically, but in every possible way! The angel-faced kids moms love so much have the ability to transform the most soft-spoken woman into a hollering mad woman in no time!

At least with me and a lot of women I know, this is really true! Hollering and running after the tots, I look and sound very different than what I was a few years ago! My kids keep me on my toes all the time, and I must thank them for that- they have helped me stay slim and fit! (Even if it sounds like I am boasting that I am slim, it is true!) And yes, I do shout sometimes, though I hate it and hate myself when I do that.

I am like any other mom. And whenever I ask my kids to do something, I always do it with a smile and a sweet tone at first. The second time, more sweetly, with a please. The third time, sweetly again. Fourth time, a little sternly. Then a pause, just to give them some time to do what they have been asked to do. Then the fifth time a little more sternly. And the sixth time and seventh, more sternly. And finally, I have to shout to be heard by my kids! Sometimes I feel as if they listen to me only when I shout!

And there are times when shouting just doesn’t help. Like when I want my three year old daughter to get dressed fast as she might miss her school van, and I raise my voice a bit, but you know what happens? She starts bawling, and spreads herself on the floor. Result? She misses the van and I have to either drop her at her school myself or let her be at home. is as if they know just the right buttons to press to my patience! And they can match me, shout for shout, look for look and even stomp when I try to make them understand exactly why they should do what they are being asked to do.And most of the times, I do give in, even after a good round of shouting. What's more, I feel guilty about shouting at them. And the battles continue...

Though I have an unwritten rule that I never hit my kids (a thwack once in six months or so doesn’t count as hitting!), I am yet to stop shouting at them. But this joke about the not-so-sweet voice of moms has made me think about it. I guess I need to stop shouting at them, too. Not just to save my voice, but also for them.

After all, I don’t like being shouted at. And I didn’t like it when I was young and any of my parents shouted at me. Why would my kids like it? I cannot behave like I own them, they are also individuals like me. I have to understand that they are just children, and need a lot of time and space to grow up and be responsible. Inculcating discipline in children from a young age is fine, but that doesn’t require any shouting….or does it? I am still wondering…..

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