When You Lose Your Temper

black and white face screaming at camera

Just yelled my head off and sent all the boys to their rooms.

It started this morning when I was fetching dirty laundry and asked The Mercenary to bring any stray clothes down to my room so I could sort and wash them. (Note that I do all the washing, drying, and folding of clothes in this house – except for when my dear mother-in-law visits.) The Mercenary found a pile and was carrying it through the house when he dropped some and asked TechnoBoy to help. TechnoBoy was practicing his piano and said, “No.”

The Mercenary was not pleased. I’d prayed first thing this morning for help in controlling my tongue and finding ways to deal with situations that were more Love and Logic and a lot less Lecture. So, as I walked by I tried saying sympathetically, “Yea, I get real frustrated when that happens to me too.”

I figured he’d just pick up the pile of clothes and bring them down. He did pick them up, but then chose to take them over to his brother and rub the dirty laundry in TechnoBoy’s face. I attempted to remain calm, and told him that was just awful and sent him to his room. After a cooling off period, I tried to talk to him about it, mentioning that people who act in service to others enjoy peace when they’re not all the time counting how much work they’re doing. I even thought up a whole post on the topic.

After getting the laundry in and making my breakfast I told the younger boys they had 5 minutes until we were going to start their work. Cheerful replies were heard. When I actually called them, Captain Earthquake cried and pouted up a storm. Then he tossed a bowl of cereal on the floor, and this was after I had hugged him and reminded him that school is fun and we always have a good time. What was bugging him is the transition, and that I understood how hard it is to change from one activity to the next.

Had him clean up. Using the vacuum hose cheered him up and I called the boys to the table to start. By now it was 11:24, and I was starting to get anxious about time as there are some have-to-do’s on my list today. This was when The Manager started pouting and crying over every little thing. We tried to play Simon Says for math….he pouted. Tried to play the left and right game…he pouted. And so on.

At the same time I was trying to keep the older boys moving through their schedule (have-to-do’s, you know). This involved getting them started on what turned out to be incredibly difficult science experiments that required them to drill a hole through a cork and slip a straw through. We also needed to cut the bottom off a plastic jug, figure out how to attach fins to the cork, and more. I was trying to get the younger boys’ math lesson started, and called them to the kitchen because today we’re going to measure water and color it with food coloring. All fun things for boys to do.

I had the audacity to ask them to come with me to find containers of different sizes when The Manager started pouting. Again. For some reason, coming to the breezeway at his mother’s request was just too much and he was rude and uncooperative with me.

That was when I lost it.

I yelled loudly and sent everyone to their rooms. Granted, the older boys had less direct involvement with the whole thing so I’m trying to figure out what to do from here. They do have some responsibility in terms of acting like this for so many years in front of the littles thus giving them the idea. And the whole laundry incident still really annoys. It smacks of bullying, which I absolutely despise.

I really hate the whining and pouting too.

Now I have to figure out what to do from here. Yelling at boys hasn’t really improved anything, and I need to figure out something that will actually help. I admit I have a short fuse when it comes to pouting over school. I’ve fought the bad attitudes for so many years, and I want to just have happy times.

Unschoolers will tell me that I’m being mean, yada yada by having structure. I disagree, and do not plan to argue the point. The very fact that our day is structured is non-negotiable. I am working my tail off to make things engaging and fun. In my opinion, the kids need to be bringing some effort and good behavior to the table as well.

Guess I’ll talk to the older boys first. And yes I will apologize. I still need some way to deal with the pouting. How do you handle pouting?

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who struggle with homeschooling.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Mary November 20, 2008, 5:23 pm

    Oh my Amy!!! Thanks for being so open. To be honest my kids don’t pout…..but they do plenty to cause me to yell. I’m under the assumption that as with the other kids it will all end when they move out! LOL
    Honestly if anyone has some great ideas I would love to hear it. I struggle daily to get one to do his work and with the other to actually spend time to learn instead of just rushing through to complete the activity.
    I find that many times it’s actually my lack of involvement (although it frustrates me that as teens they can’t “do” more on their own without my cattle prodding!) or my lack of sleep and stress in life that causes me to yell etc. It’s my demands on myself and my expectation that cause frustrations. This year I have increased my expectations as they are in high school and it NOT FUN! I’m trying to figure out how to make high school fun but yet still keep them academically (oh that’s spelled wrong I just know it!) where they “should be”. I’m also realizing that just because I had a A/B average in high school DOES NOT mean my kids will. For some reason in homeschooling I thought my kids were going to be geniuses. (what world was I living in??????)
    So, my way of dealing with attitudes? First I’ve decided to take care of myself.
    1. get enough sleep even if it means we get started late or are a day behind.
    2. get my exercise and watch my diet…the better I feel about myself the more positive I am about those around me.
    3. They pay me money for mouthing off…it’s just a small amount but it’s increasing as they get older. Money talks…..and no I don’t feel it’s bribery…I get paid if I show up for work and if I’m insubordinate I will lose my job!
    4. Pray, Pray, Pray (but don’t ask for patience because for some reason it gets worse….LOL

    Ok, sorry long response but I do so appreciate your open comments!

    Reply
  • Jennifer D November 20, 2008, 6:09 pm

    I think everyone has days like this, just some won’t admit it LOL. First off I don’t have 4 boys, that I think has alot of do with it for you, they are more competitive. I have 2 of each, and they range from 10 months, up to 8 yrs, so my dynamic is different, but they are still kids. They do pout and yes it drives me INSANE. With our oldest which is a girl, she likes to get bossy, and tell me what I’m trying to tell her. It’s a girl thing, wants to be incharge. Our next is a boy and he’s 6, he just plays dumb. Can’t remember what you told him 2 minutes ago. Also VERY annoying. What do we do? Well sometimes I yell, I am human after all. We stand them in the corner if they won’t straighten up after a few warnings. They don’t like that. Or if it reaches a breaking point, we do use the paddle. AHHHH I know, not everyone goes for that approach. It works for us, we don’t not beat or torture, yada yada. If they are being just plain mean to each other, which honestly doesn’t happen to often at home, I threaten to make them sit next to each other or if we are in the store, hold hands. They straighten right up.

    I’m always telling them to be a good example. Treat others how they want to be treated, not how they treat you. It’s just something you just keep doing and hope they grow out of it soon. The fact that your trying to find a solution says alot, and apologizing to them, may affect them positivily more than you can imagine.

    I’m not sure how much all of that jibberish helped, but we understand. We’ve all had those days. Just keep looking ahead and keep going.

    Reply
  • AirJordans November 21, 2008, 5:09 am

    Don’t hate me because I laughed uproariously at the boy who rubbed dirty laundry in his brother’s face. It’s just so boy-like. You’re a great mom. Don’t let him see you laugh but didn’t you feel the least bit inclined to do so?

    Reply
  • Acne November 22, 2008, 5:32 pm

    I have 4 boys too and I often feel the need to yell at them. Thanks Mary for your tips I will follow them. It might help me cope with every stressful day.

    Reply
  • Amy November 22, 2008, 11:27 pm

    Mary, that was wonderful! And there’s no problem with long comments, lol. I’m pretty wordy myself. Thank you very much.

    Jennifer, thank you too. It wasn’t jibberish and was very encouraging. Helped me calm down a lot.

    Air Jordans I don’t hate you. No, I didn’t laugh because the whole dominance thing has been an issue with The Mercenary for a long time and I was worried about that. I do often laugh at the stuff they do, not to worry. I just wasn’t laughing Thursday. All better now, thanks.

    Acne as my boys would say you and I are ‘in the same club’. Yea, keeping my cool and not yelling at them is easy some days. Other days….not so much. We do what we can, right?

    Reply
  • Ferienwohnung Leutasch December 9, 2008, 2:06 am

    I’m a hot temper person so your article was very helpful for me.. I’m easy to mad.. I appreciate your article.

    Reply
  • Vera Bradley December 18, 2008, 3:43 pm

    My mom had 4 boys so now I can appreciate her patience. Thank you for this well thought out article. Love the site too by the way.

    Reply
  • Amy December 20, 2008, 7:16 pm

    Vera, 4 boys and you? Or more than that even? My hat is off to her! Thanks for the compliment and for stopping by. 🙂

    Reply
  • how to get rid of pimples March 2, 2009, 8:58 am

    that is real hard… don’t you have a favorite son? seems like your favoring with Technoboy? hehe just kidding, let them do the laundry even for once. let em experience it.

    Reply
  • Amy March 16, 2009, 7:55 pm

    how to get rid of pimples, shoot I hope I don’t have a favorite! I don’t consciously favor one but I will admit to liking different ones different amounts, depending on the way they’re acting.

    LOL I don’t TRUST them with the laundry. And it’s not all that difficult to do. I’m happy if they’ll bring it down when I ask and put it away when it’s clean. Oh, and not leave clothes all over the house. I have had them help fold and they were greatly annoyed at the process. Hee hee hee.

    I’ll teach them to wash clothes sometime soon.

    Reply
  • Vera Bradley February 2, 2010, 10:14 am

    When I lose my temper with my children, I just try my best to be steady and take a breather.

    Reply