A friend forwarded me the link to a parenting blog recently. The blogger, mother of a seven-year-old, takes up the challenge of yelling less. She’s inspired by the blog famous among parenting blogs, Orange Rhino.
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For those who are not familiar, The Orange Rhino is the name of a challenge where the aforementioned blogger decided to go 365 days without yelling at her kids. All four of them. Yes. Four. And she succeeded.
As for me, I prefer the Maun Vrat, the age-old spiritual practice of silence. Of course, I have my own version of it. Mine comes into application when I realise answering the child will be at my own risk, turning me into a cross between Cruela De Ville and Godzilla. Silence is really the best answer at these times. In fact, coupled with The Glare, it’s an effective tool for submission.
Maun vrat works especially well for me in the following situations. Try these at your own risk. It may work for you, or who knows you may prefer the ‘No Yell’ route.
1. Maun Vrat works when the child is telling me about a particular incident that happened elsewhere, usually with dramatic embellishments. I just nod my head and play the latest favourite song in my mind or plan the weekend menu. All I need to remember is to maintain eye contact with child. Works wonderfully.
2. This also works when I’m on the phone with someone I haven’t spoken to in a while and junior decides it’s the best time to ask whether his Spiderman toy will stay put with glue on the newly painted wall. Or ask for the 500th time if he can have his second bar of monstrously huge chocolate.
Well, technically speaking I am not on Maun Vrat here but when it comes to the junior, I am. All I need is to add a dash of glare, clench my fists and purse my lips for good measure (to stop from yelling of course!) It is (usually) enough to silence the child even in his most persistent days.
3. Maun Vrat also works wonders on long car rides that invariably come accompanied by that dreaded question, ‘Are we there yet?’ These days I’ve realised that silence is the best answer. If the car journey is boring the brat, your unwillingness to rise to the bait will bore him further, leading him to seek refuge in books, DoodlePro, something gadgety or simply the scenery outside the window. Okay, I made up the outside the window part. You probably have to ditch Maun Vrat and play games like ‘I Spy’ to achieve that.
4. The other situation where Maun Vrat works well for me is during unreasonable demands that usually start with ‘I want’ and ‘Will you buy me?” Follow the clenched fist and pursed lip rule again, accompanied by the glare if required. This should work in most cases. Oh, did I mention that you need to develop a Rhino-like thick hide if you are in a public place for all those unsympathetic glares you yourself would be getting from everyone? Work on that. The rest gets easier.