Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yelling must be a cultural thing

I am totally swipping this idea from another gals blog,, but since I have no shame, I am going to continue the discussion she brought up. Her comment was that most mothers admit to yelling/hollering at their kids especially preschool aged children. I am not super proud to admit that I yell at my kids, but I am only human.

Let me back up a little here on this great topic of why I admit to yelling at my kids. First I would like to state for the record that I do not randomly yell at my kids just because I am bored, but it is usually precipitated by my child/children doing something utterly stupid and dangerous...or publicly embarassing that will cause me to yell at them later in private. My mother was Irish and my Father was of German heritage. These two cultures are diametrically opposed in areas of verbosity. My mom was always very verbal and never lacked for a reason to talk or to yell at us kids. Until very recently in my adult life, I believed that yelling was a normal occurence in the Irish culture. All our cousins had mother's that yelled and our houses were naturally loud. My father was very quiet and only spoke when it served a specific purpose. Yelling was an unnecessary noise that served little purpose. We always knew my dad was mad because he just very quietly and deliberatly left the room. You were forced to stand there in your own silence and inevitable shame.

Most of the cousins were Irish and the other side was Italian. I just grew up in a house where yelling was a normal, daily occurrence. Now don't get me wrong. The yelling was not always in anger, heck most of the time, it was just how thoughts and emotions were expressed. I never knew it was unusual or something in which to be alarmed. But the first time Marc ever met my Aunt Joan's family and her kids, he ended up with heartburn, a headache and a twitch in his eye, all before desert. The dinner table was surrounded by at least 20 family members, to include the two Irish mothers and the two German fathers. Chaos normally ensued, but Marc had never been to a family get-together where everyone talks at the same time, kids are whinning, and the grown-ups are loudly talking and laughing....even with people at the other end of the table. Seriously, Marc got dizzy trying to keep up with all the different conversations. This was just normal life. Loud discussions, interspersed with an occasional shout from a frustrated mother.

It wasn't until I first had dinner at Marc's parent's house that I realized how different our families were. His family had a large gathering of relatives around the table and yet, no one spoke until another conversation had ended. There were no raucous discussions, no mothers yelling at their kids to sit down and eat, and no good belly laughs. His family was very reserved and composed. Now this is where I got a headache and a twitch in my eye. To me this type of family dinner was straight up WEIRD. How can anyone show love to someone else if they aren't being loud and shouting?? I still to this day, just can't believe that anyone in his family is having fun at these dinners if it is deathly quiet. For God's sake it is like eating dinner with professional mourners!!

So very long story short, I totally get the hollering at the kids thing and not thinking it is necessarily detrimental to their future mental health. My mom never yelled demeaning things at us and I don't do that when I yell either, but I do occasionally blurt out a "What the hell did you do that for?" I like to labor under the delusion that my sisters and I are some where on the spectrum of normalcy despite our mother yelling at us. So in defence of hollering at our 'young'ns, I think the two that I have raised since the moment of their birth are somewhat normal and well-adjusted. How ironic that on our first adoption homestudy 11 years ago, one of the questions asked was what one trait of your parents' child-rearing style would you be most likely to reject...........................and I wrote....................yelling!!! HAHAHAHAHA Life has a funny way of biting you in the butt. Even though my mom and my aunt Joan are now gone, they still live on in me everyday when I open my mouth and yell at my kids, "If you don't come inside and eat now,I am eating the rest of your Halloween Candy." Jokes on them. I finished it off last weekend!!

A parting shot to contemplate. My mom passed away on October, 17, 2007. Last Friday I received in the mail..............her stimulus check!! I don't know how stimulated it will make her in the great beyond!! Just what every deceased person needs is $ that makes everything right!


Tifanni said...

That is so stinking hilarious.
My family spends a fair amont of time yelling, but never in friendly ways-My mom/aunts mastered the family fight. It wouldn't be the holidays without one :)

This Mama said...

I am an admitted yeller as well. Ugg! I never ever wanted to be, and with one child I never had a reason really ....with three (and soon to be three more) you feel like a ref half the time and so, well, I yell like on too.

This Mama said...

geralyn said...

Hey This Mama,
I tried emailing you and it won't go thru. Email me so I can email you off this public site. I would like to compare adoption stories and notes.