I Don’t Want To Yell, I Say- Guest Post by Clara

November 20, 2010 · 3 comments

in Daily Life, Relationship, Toddlers

“I don’t want to yell.”

I take a deep breath and look into his eyes. They are blue, bright blue, and red, bloodshot red, from the crying.

“It’s just that…”

…are you apologizing or not?
…yes, but I want to explain
…he knows why you’re mad. He wants you to stop.
…then he should stop doing things that make me mad!
…he wants to see how far he can push you, whether you’ll still love him, whether you’ll lose control.
…so who cares why you’re mad? It’s irrelevant.
…I have to explain myself. I have to explain why!
…no you don’t. You don’t. He is not an adult. He is a child. The information he needs is simple. He doesn’t need to know any of this. You talk too much. You think too much. You talk about what you think and think about what you say, too much.

“I’m sorry.I know you’re scared.
I will try to yell less.
I love you.”

He smiles.

We start again.


The above words were penned by Clara, who hails from Canada. Clara is a writer, and a mother to two boys, ages two and four. You can find her and read more of her very wonderful writing at The Cheeseblog .

I am so grateful to Clara for granting me permission to reprint her thoughts here. I came across this post unexpectedly, and was moved to tears by the honest expression of Clara’s struggle as she tried to find a way to re-connect with her son after having lost her patience with him.

No matter how much you love them, or what your intentions are, it can sometimes be impossible to remain calm and patient when caring for your young children. As a parent, you will make mistakes. You will not be perfect. There will be times when your words or actions may cause hurt. You can count on those things, because making mistakes is part of being human.

The good news is this: perfection is not required or necessary in order to be a good, and loving parent and role model. What is required is a willingness to be honest, say you made a mistake, apologize (briefly!) and be willing to start again.

There will be times during your parenting journey when a break occurs in your relationship with your child, but if you are committed to trying again, you can find a way to build a bridge back to your child, and you may be surprised to find him waiting right there to meet you half way.

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Amber April 1, 2011

I read that post of Clara’s. In fact, I read most posts of Clara’s, she’s pretty awesome. I sometimes feel like I do a lot of apologizing as a parent. If nothing else, I hope that my kids are learning to be forgiving. That’s something, right?

Marcy November 20, 2011

Is that really all they need, that brief an apology with no explanation? Isn’t it important for them to know that what they do affects other people? Do they really know they’ve done something wrong if we don’t tell them so?

Daughter is five. I find myself having similar struggles… and it is so frustrating to feel like the explanations are ineffective — it feels important to me that she understand, at some level, whatever level a five-year-old can.

The fact is I will lose control sometimes, and that some of her behavior, words, tone, will push me past my limits. It doesn’t make me stop loving her, but it does make me need some space and some recovery.

And I am longing for the day when she has some empathy, when the “do unto others” idea really clicks, when she gives some thought to how what she does affects others… and I sure hope I can help her navigate those tricky waters of deciding when to risk behaviors that could have negative affects on others, and when to set aside personal things in order to preserve peace or protect another — it’s not always black and white, not always “express your feelings right now” and it’s also not always “put your feelings aside right now.”

Jesse November 21, 2011

This reignites all hope that my patience always has room to grow. I often find that the lack is towards myself, not my son, but it is he who suffers when I lose control. Thanks for the inspiration and additional resource. Maybe if I read these BEFORE I get overly stressed, I can prevent mishaps rather than feel sorry for them.

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