This is the third post in a series about why and how I gave up yelling at my kids — for good. Read Part 1: The Meltdown and Part 2: The Plan.

Here’s what’s really wild about this whole yelling thing: I’m actually a really good mom. By all accounts, I’m a great mom. Even when I was yelling, my kids would have told you I was a great mom, the best in the world. I’ve taught parenting classes. I’m a go-to person for advice for overwhelmed or frustrated parents. I mentor vulnerable and at risk families. I volunteer for organizations that support parents, children, and families. I’m a fricking pillar of the community. Any community. You name it: If I’m in it I’m a goddam pillar. And know what? It didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how great a parent or person you are — you’re not immune from screwing up and you’re certainly not immune from getting completely lost.

As I questioned my very existence through what has turned out to be one of the biggest crises of my life, I learned a lot about how truly good people end up doing things that make them hate themselves. I’ve learned a lot about what leads us to find ourselves in situations we never imagined. I’ve learned a lot about how we lose touch with the face we see in the mirror. I’ve learned a lot about self-compassion and forgiveness. I’ve learned a lot about humility. And I’ve used what I’ve learned to stay yell-free for 172 days as of this writing.

Here’s how I found myself, a great mom, yelling constantly and eroding my children’s self-esteem and sense of unconditional love. These are the choices that made me vulnerable to yelling and breaking my children down instead of building them up. continue reading >>>

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This is the second post in a series about why and how I gave up yelling at my kids — for good. Read Part 1: The Meltdown.  

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I knew that if I was going to make good on my promise to my child — which I had clarified as “Never yell at you again because no one should ever talk to you that way” — I had to take it seriously, and I needed a plan. It had to be life and death. It occurred to me that, if my son had been diagnosed with cancer and the only cure was to never yell again, I would find a way to make that happen. So I decided this:

If I ever yell at my child again, he will be struck by lightning from above and die instantly.

Yeah, I know it may sound ridiculous. But it was life and death. It was about loving my child into a beautiful life or killing his spirit and making sure he would never have self-esteem or functional relationships thanks to my shitty mothering. This is not hyperbole. Children who are verbally abused by their parents — and make no mistake, what I did that day and what I had done on a lesser scale at other times was undoubtedly verbal abuse — experience serious and lasting impacts in their brain. It changes them.  continue reading >>>

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Lightning strike

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On July 9, 2017, I lost. my. shit. on one of my 5-year-olds. It wasn’t just a momentary lapse. It was a solid hour of us screaming at each other. A grown adult, having an hour-long screaming match with a 5-year-old. And I was going to win. As I watched him lose the will to fight back, I had a flash of the future. I saw him going through life angry and broken and feeling unloved, with no soft place to fall. I saw myself slowly killing his spirit one day at a time until there was nothing left. I felt sick, watching him huddled on the floor, sobbing, unable to look at me. I did that. I did that to my child, the person I wanted more than anything in the world, the person I prayed for and cried over and worried about and adored.

Part of this happened in public. There were witnesses. No one intervened. No one said, “Hey, mama, take a breath” or “What the hell is going on here” or “Ma’am, you’re under arrest.” No one even seemed to notice that I was screaming the spirit out of my child. Maybe if I’d hit him? I’m not sure that even would have done it. No one cared that I was destroying my son—including me. He had to learn. He had to respect me. He had to cut that shit out right now. I had to teach him.

But I wasn’t teaching him. I was gutting him. continue reading >>>

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My panicked text to a friend’s mom.

Over Thanksgiving break 2017 we had four playdates in three days. I’d like to be acknowledged for surviving this terrible idea. I’ll wait. … Okay, great. Thanks for that. And in the course of this three-day nightmare, I discovered that I know literally nothing about playdates. The only ones we have ever had before were when I wanted to drink wine or coffee with my friends and so they came over and we locked the kids in the back yard or kids’ bedroom to entertain each other. Now, after moving, I don’t know anyone and I don’t have a yard, so this is totally uncharted territory.

Hence, my  list of…

Playdate Mysteries

Mystery #1: How the hell are you supposed to schedule a playdate?

I don’t even know how many kids are in my kids’ classes, much less their actual names or their phone numbers. When I was a kid (oh my God I am old) we had a school directory that came home with everyone with their name and grade and phone number and a class list in the back. Now, it’s like a federal offense to even confirm who’s in which teacher’s class or that they even go to the school. So, I improvised. I grabbed some of those notecards I’ve been stockpiling from the Target Dollar Spot and wrote cards that said:

Dear So-and-So’s Parents,
[My kid] wants to have a playdate. Will you please call or text me to make a plan? [my cell]
Thanks,
Kristen

Yes, I am the jackass who sent handwritten invitations to a playdate. I also literally called it a playdate, both aloud and in writing. Ridicule away. I deserve it. Then, I addressed them as “So-and-So’s Parents” and sent them to school in my kids’ backpacks and told them to give it to their teacher. But my notecard hoarding problem sure did come in handy, so there’s that.

Confession: About halfway through the second round, I got tired of writing the notes, so I asked our babysitter to do it. Thanks, babysitter!

We had like a 50% response rate, which leads to Submystery 1A: Did the kids not give the cards to their parents? Do the parents not want to send them somewhere for a playdate? Are my kids assholes and their classmates don’t actually like them? Will update if I figure it out. continue reading >>>

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How a Card Game Transformed My Family in a Matter of Minutes

by Kristen King

When I decided to back the Generation Mindful Kickstarter campaign for PeaceMakers, I had no idea that this choice would change the course of my family in an instant. This might sound like hyperbole, but I’m being completely serious. This card game has been life-changing. Let me explain. The essential premise of PeaceMakers is that connection is more effective […]

continue reading >>>