Jan 6

Don’t Yell Around Your Kids!


They just might see what it’s like being a real adult in the real world. We need to shelter them from the realities of human conflict so that when they grow up, and someone yells around them, they can spiral into a confusion coma because they have no idea why someone doesn’t love someone else, unconditionally, all the time….no matter what….even if they screw up…..

Come on! Seriously, though. Come on! Yelling is real. It’s just a not-so-fun way to refer to someone being “passionate about their opinion.” And when two people share a similarly sized passion for opposite ends of that opinion, it’s a very natural and poetic arc of volume that erupts forth. How else is a person going to get their opinion heard? It must rattle the ear drums to such an extent that the listening receptacles of the other party cannot mistake it for anything but the truth. Or so the theory goes.

Heated arguing happens.  I love that wife of mine dearly, but if I’m being honest then I should share with the world that we most certainly argue.  And sometimes those arguments have a bit of volume on them.  It’s not as if we DESIRE to argue in front of the kids.  But there are inopportune times when we are both passionately correct….and that is the vinegar and baking soda of marriage.

It’s not our job as parents to shelter our kids from every damn thing in the world. Try as we might, it’s impossible. But as far as getting into arguments with my wife, it’s not always possible to put off the rage until later. Neither of us are too keen on saying, “I’m so pissed at you right now, but let’s pretend nothing is wrong while the kids are awake, and then, when they are sound asleep, you are IN FOR IT!” Mostly because that’s when we watch New Girl, or X Factor, or possibly take in a movie onDemand.  That’s “us” time. But why shouldn’t we resolve our problem when our problem arises? The correct answer is that we should!

Yes, even we, the perfect loving family get into huge arguments. In fact, they call me "Dr. ME!ME!ME!" Gayle is known as "The Bulldog" Noble goes by "Drama Drama," and Alistair is "Smack Yo Face."

Gayle and I don’t sit down and come up with a list of ways to handle arguing around our children; so that when it happens, we can refer to some ridiculous “chart of appropriateness” or something. We do what feels right in the moment. Because we both know that we have the best interest of our kids at the top of our list. And getting in an argument around the kids, while not ideal, is still OK. If you find yourself getting into a verbal argument around the kids, then here are some suggestions on how to handle it without causing irreparable damage to the development of your kids blah blah blah oh who knows for sure anyway….

1) If they come into the room where you are arguing with your spouse, take a second to explain to the kid that you love each other and are just having a disagreement. Every once in awhile your 5 year old will surprise you and give you sound advice on conflict resolution…something you probably told him to do at one point. The other 9 times out of 10 he will probably just ask you to use your indoor voice and shut the hell up about it already. He’s right. Now, if he actually says, “Shut the hell up about it already,” then you have a more immediate behavioral issue with your child to deal with…so deal with THAT, and then get back to your argument.

2) Don’t swear. You might be angry, but you have a responsibility to have tact. Unless you want your kid’s teacher to ask you why your son thinks “dad is a total fucking moron” or why “mom is an irrational bitch.” Gayle and I are very particular about not swearing around the kids, especially during a heated argument. Even though sometimes I have chewed a hole in my lip from biting it.

3) Don’t throw, or punch, furniture. I know some people just need to smash things to get their “sound” opinion heard. Also breaking knuckles through walls has been known to make a good point. I’m not 100% sure what those points are, but I think we can all agree that this kind of behavior has no place around a child. UNLESS of course you would like your child to come home from school with a note saying, “When your son disagreed in the class debate, he threw his desk out the window. You owe the school $1475.00.”

4) Let the other person finish their entire stupid point, all the way, even though you have a valid reason to interrupt, correct, and clarify probably 15 times before they are finished. The quickest way for an argument to escalate is to cut somebody off and turn the argument into a “No, YOU are an asshole for cutting ME off first!” When kids are around, you kinda sorta should really sorta work at kinda having an argument the way that you would want them to have an argument.  Actually scratch this one, I don’t know what I’m thinking.  I’m basically telling you that you should do something that is impossible.  Let’s just look at this one as a happy little ideal situation!

5) Resolve your argument. Stewing around angry doesn’t work well with kids. For some reason they don’t like being around a tight lipped ogre of rage. At the very least, resolve it enough that you can go over to your kid and say, “See! Look! We figured it out.” 9 times out of 10 he really won’t care. He will just be glad that you can now start working on dinner. Scientists will probably tell you that the argument has impacted them greatly and that they care at a really deep level, and when they are in their 20’s they will probably seek out therapy because of that very argument. Scientists aren’t raising your kid, you are. So you be the judge of that.

7) Make Macaroni and Cheese for dinner…or pizza, depending on what type of kid you have. They will instantly forget everything they saw and feel fully loved by all. It will be like that thing that erases people’s memories in the movie Men In Black. It’s a fail safe.

I hope I’ve helped you to successfully yell at your spouse without harming your little lab rats, er, I mean beautiful children.

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Posted in Parenting Tips