What does the Wicked Witch want?

The New York Times has a feature right now called “The Primal Scream.” It’s about working mothers in America. They have a hotline you can call to scream, to vent, to say what you want to say for 1 minute.

What if you could sit down and talk to yourself, the part of yourself who screams, or who wants to scream? What would she say?

What does she want? What does she need? How does she feel? What does she care about? Like, really care about deep down in her soul?

When I first decided to stop yelling, I called it the “Anger bug,” something I wanted to squish, something I had inherited from my dad and granddad.

But over time, I learned that the bug wasn’t something to squish. I had a friend who called it the “wicked witch” instead. That “wicked witch” was a part of me, and ignoring her, trying to squash her, just made her more furious.

I’ve been with many mothers who hate on themselves for yelling. Over and over again, I gently say, “Mama, you did the best you could. You were doing your absolute best in that moment.”

I show that part of themselves some love and attention, and they weep.

The hard part is that many of us who yell didn’t grow up with the most nurturing mothers. It’s hard to nurture yourself when you haven’t experienced a lot of nurturing.

Here’s one thing you can try:

First, think of yourself in a good mom moment, a time when you gently put a Band-Aid on a booboo, a time when you laughed at the mess they made, a time when you stomped on the floor playfully right alongside them.

Now speak to the screamer inside of you. What does she say?

Does she want to stomp her feet? Sweet! That’ll feel good! Let her!

Does she need a good scream? Do it. Go outside and give it a good yell. Or if you’re worried about the neighbors, find a pillow to scream into.

Do you ever see your kids and how they love to scream or be grumpy sometimes?

Pretend for a moment that the screamer inside of you loves to be grumpy and pissed off sometimes. After all, it’s fun to break a dish, especially if you have to wash them!

Can you give yourself permission to break a dish safely? Or perhaps let her write a note about all the stress, all the things she hates, and then burn it (safely in a grill of course). Relish in the sound of breaking glass, or the heat of the flame. Throw your head back and let the wicked witch give a good cackle. Can you hear it? What do you hear in her voice?

Underneath all that stress, all that grumpiness, all of that worry, all of that anger, there’s something very deep.

A deep, deep need.

The need to be heard. To be seen. To be loved.

So if you’re a mom working on her hot temper, that’s what you can do today, even if just for a moment.

Look at that part of yourself and see her. Listen to her. Honor her.

You might find a little love goes a long way.

Contact me to get certified, become a Temper Coach and help other families to stop yelling.

Fear & Punishment Vs. Love & Learning

Today’s topic: The old and new styles of discipline.

Many of us were raised in the old style of discipline. It was largely based in fear and punishment. Here are some characteristics:

1. The adults have authority based in fear because the kids are afraid of getting in trouble.
2. When the kids get in trouble, it’s unpredictable, and the punishment often takes away something that is precious to the kids.
3. Even if rewards are involved, the discipline is based in fear because the kids are afraid they might not get the reward.
4. Kids and adults struggle for power.  If/then is often used in the struggle: “If you do this, then you’ll get in trouble. If you do this, then you’ll get a reward.”

Here’s an example: The kids fight. A vase is broken. The adult yells and tells the children to go to their rooms and that they can’t go to their friend’s birthday party. The adult is furious about the vase and never forgives the children. The kids are furious and never forgive the adult for missing the birthday party. The empty shelf where the vase once was reminds them all of the hurt.

Here’s the new kind of discipline. It’s based in love and learning (this is what I teach):

1. Self-regulation (calming techniques) are taught and used so the family feels safe.
2. Feelings are talked about so the family feels loved.
3. Values (revealed by the feelings) are regularly discussed and guide decision-making.
4. Kids and adults work together to support each other in problem-solving and reconciliation when needed. Instead of a struggle for power, the family works together so everyone “wins.”

Here’s an example: The kids fight. A vase is broken. A calm adult helps the children talk about their feelings. The adult may also talk about their feelings (without blaming the kids). Values are discussed, like this:

“In our family, we value self-regulation and problem-solving.”
“We value our hearts — our feelings teach us our values — that’s our conscience.”
“We value our bodies — our bodies are made to love and be loved.”
“We value our house and the things in it, so we try to take good care of our things.”
“We have individual values — what are yours?”

So then, based on their values, the adult works with the kids to reconcile their relationship with each other. They talk about how they would like to handle the situation differently next time (to use the steps above during conflict). They work together to clean up the broken vase, and they pick a plate from a cabinet to go on the shelf in its place. They celebrate and admire the placement of the plate. The plate reminds them of how they work together as a family. Everyone feels safe, loved, and respected.

What do you think? How were you raised? Does any of this sound familiar?

The new kind of discipline does not come naturally. It takes a mentor. I mentor you, and you mentor your kids.

To schedule a free 30-minute call with me, use the Contact page on the website so I can text you.

Share this with someone who’s ready, who’s looking for a different way to raise their kids.