“A sign of a good leader is not how many followers you have, but how many leaders you create”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Dealing with addiction
First of all I want to stress that this is not a cry for help, support or indeed any sympathy in any way shape or form. But I do want to get this off my chest as it has been bothering me for quite a long time now. Well, almost 24 hours to be precise.
You see, I was invited by my Wife to partake in an online course, or rather a webinar offering that she, herself had attended during the first round of lock down. In fact, she attended quite a few webinars and used the time very well, not just to home school our two children but to also further her knowledge and experience as part of her life-learning opportunities and as part of her ongoing PGCE, which she is undertaking this year to become a Teacher.
The webinar was billed as a great way to understand your problems and the first step in learning how to deal with them. So, I signed up and duly received my second email on the subject at around 8:00pm last night with the subject heading of…..
There’s just 1 hour until your class, Getting Kids to Listen Without Yelling, Nagging, or Losing Control, kicks off at 09:00 PM GMT…
So, at just before 9:00pm I made a cup of tea, sat in front of my laptop, logged into the session, and I duly waited with bated breath. The clock ticked over from 8:59 to 9:00 and ta-da the webinar was opened. A very pleasant American lady was hosting and took us through the next hour talking about and sharing her challenges and personal struggles with her own kids growing up and how she used to rant and yell at her kids, trying to get them to listen and to comply with what was required by ordinary families, in ordinary households as they went through life earning and giving respect to themselves and to each other.
As the session progressed, it dawned on me that EVERYTHING this lady was stating was completely true and was a mirror reflection of what occurs in my life and that of my family’s life.
You see, I do yell, I do scream at the kids, I do make theirs, mine, and their Mum’s life an absolute bloody misery at times. But I failed to see it (addicts tend to do that don’t they). You see, it was never me was it? It was always the kids, shouting, playing up, not doing as they were told, not brushing their teeth, or washing their hands and face when told to do so or cleaning their room when it was deemed by us as the parents to be an absolute disgrace or going to bed at the allotted time. No, it was all their fault that I was pushed to the edge of that, yet another balling and yelling for things to change.
The reality is it is not their fault. Yes, they have a part to play and they create the situation that leads to me shouting. But it is my reaction that leads to the balling, the yelling, the swearing, yes, lots of swearing. We all do it at some point or another when the kids push the wrong buttons, don’t deny it, it happens in every household. The challenge, for me anyway, is having the ability to control it.
It took my Wife to say, “have a look at this, I have attended it, it was really good and gave me a great new perspective on things – it might help you love”. On reflection, what she was actually saying was – “I think we have a problem, I think we need to deal with it before it takes over our lives”. What greater support can I and my kids ever expect than a Wife, a Mother who raises concern and says, “will you get some help please before it ruins us as a family”?
Now, I never actually saw this as a big problem, not in the way that my Wife clearly saw this and had obviously been thinking about it for some time, to the point where she emailed me a link to attend a webinar on control. But sitting on that webinar last night for an hour taught me that I am an addict!
I am addicted to yelling and shouting at my kids, when I could quite easily learn to approach them and their foibles in a different, more positive way. Look at the 5 R’s as was suggested in the aforementioned webinar; Respectful (Consequence), Relate (the consequence to the misbehaviour), Reasonable (in duration), Revealed (in advance), Repeated (back to you by the child). All in, this combination is, I hope, a very good way to address and change MY behaviours to control MY shouting, MY yelling, MY swearing.
The truth is, and this is the crunch bit. We are in Lock down, we are spending more time together now than we have ever done. In fact, I am spending more time with my wife and kids than I have ever done since I first started working in 1985. The first time in my entire life where I have not got up in a morning and gone out to work. And, I have now done that for the past 68 days and counting. In all seriousness, if I do not get a grip of this then it could lead to upset, to fragmentation of my family. Who knows? perhaps it could lead to the separation of our beautiful family and that is the last thing we want – any of us.
So, a new beginning. New learnings. Spend more time self-investigating in to how I tick, what the triggers are that cause me to create fall out and see if I can address those before they escalate. After all, if I can control my end of the bargain then we are already 50% there.
I am now very much looking forward to getting my ADDICTION to Yelling, Nagging and Losing Control in check and also keen to count, as many addicts in recovery do, how many days I can go without. I will of course offer updates in case there are similarities out there as I am sure I am not on my own here. Someone in my network may be able to offer support and encouragement to help me deal with and beat this.
Stay Safe everyone and thank you for reading.
Of course, I am playing on words here. I don’t really see this as an addiction, and I am not demeaning anyone’s addiction in any way, shape or form. I have lived with an addict during my earlier years (perhaps another story for another time) but nevertheless, there is a serious point to all of this. My Wife was concerned enough in my behaviour to raise it as something to look at. And, I truly love my wife and children enough to give it some effort and time to address. I will make it a success.