I am not a screamy parent. I can count the number of times I’ve screamed at MiniK with barely two hands. I know why I am like this. I got it from my mother. She never screamed at us in anger. She screams sometimes when she jokes and laughs but never in anger. Plus, I grew up with a very strong mother and the one thing that makes her snap – and when I say snap I mean ‘possibly’ knock someone down with a punch – is when someone screams at her. It was the one thing that made her see red. It probably still does.
I guess because I grew up in a house with no screaming, I ended up subconsciously carrying it to my own family. I think I got the patience to not scream at my child from my father. He has patience longer than the Nile river. During moments of severe frustration, I take a pillow and scream my head off, muffling the deafening slur. When MiniK saw me do that once after a particularly difficult tantrum, she snapped out of her tantrum and asked what I was doing. I guess that served more than one purpose.
When I do raise my voice though, it has the desired effect. Everyone knows I mean business because I don’t do it often. It has to be said though that my daughter is very level headed. During moments when she is being difficult at something, I explain to her in a loud firm voice what the possible consequences of her actions are. Things like “if you don’t hold my hand while we’re waiting for the train, you could fall into the tracks and die when the train hits you”. Or “if you copy your friends and refuse to hold my hand while we cross the street, a car might hit you and kill you”. Or “if you cross the road with your scooter without mummy or daddy, a truck can run you over and kill you”. Morbid much? Yep, that’s me.
It’s not all about death though. It could be something like “if you don’t go to bed early, you will be cranky in the morning and I don’t like bringing cranky kids to the concert so we’ll just have to stay home and do nothing”. It works for her.
I am not claiming to be a better parent than anyone else. I just follow what works for us. Also, I think it is because I don’t impose on my child the things I don’t like myself – like hitting, swearing and screaming (and some vegetables). One time, I remember when I was still working in the Philippines and one guy had this habit of screaming and hitting people’s heads when he thinks they’re being stupid. It’s a thing he found funny but I thought it was absolutely rude. Plus, it hurt. So I warned him once not to do it again. He kept doing it, of course, not taking my warning seriously. So the next time he did it to me, I pushed him in a corner (not physically, I just kind of leaned on him till he hit the wall, it helped that I was taller), looked him in the eyes and told him quietly that he if he ever does that to me again, I will cut his balls off with the office scissors. He laughed thinking I was just joking but I kept staring at him, not smiling.
He never did it again.