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Mums who never ever yell?

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Melissa, maybe you should be writing a book on parenting, especially parenting teenagers. My oldest starts high school in the fall --yikes! If you've got the natural talent, please share with those of us that may be more challenged in that area :)

I actually think about that a lot, but I have no remarkable qualifications. My degrees are in lit, not med or psych :)  I've started an article on NAS babies because of Kaden. After I wrote about it in my blog (http://melissa-writing.livejournal.com/419385.html), I started an article, but . . . kids & deadlines make NF writing less likely right now.  That's the sort of writing I dream about for "if I hot X success, I can do write this just for fun thing!"
#61 - June 20, 2013, 01:27 PM

Do you mean 'yell' as in 'lose their temper and holler' or do you mean 'yell' as in 'shout to be heard'?

Tell me that this mum that you're creating who refuses to raise her voice is meant to be the character we all hate? I'd be terribly disappointed if you were planning to make her some kind of heroine. Actually, I don't think it would be possible to make her heroic or even likeable. Scary, yes. Smarmy, sickening and delusion definitely.

#62 - June 20, 2013, 04:16 PM
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Do you mean 'yell' as in 'lose their temper and holler' or do you mean 'yell' as in 'shout to be heard'?

Tell me that this mum that you're creating who refuses to raise her voice is meant to be the character we all hate? I'd be terribly disappointed if you were planning to make her some kind of heroine. Actually, I don't think it would be possible to make her heroic or even likeable. Scary, yes. Smarmy, sickening and delusion definitely.

To clarify: Are you saying that a mother who refuses to raise her voice at her children is "smarmy [and] sickening" and not "possible to [be] . . . even likable"?  Or am I misunderstanding?
#63 - June 20, 2013, 07:41 PM

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To clarify: Are you saying that a mother who refuses to raise her voice at her children is "smarmy [and] sickening" and not "possible to [be] . . . even likable"?  Or am I misunderstanding?

I think Pippa is talking in terms of fiction... not reality. You know how it is, you read about this wonderful mum (who could probably be you!) who never shouts at her children. In reality, that mum might be your friend or relative who you think is fabulous. In fiction, that mum might be easier to swallow (er, not literally!) if she's seriously flawed in other ways, you know?

It's the same as beautiful characters - it's always a bit of a relief if they have some serious character flaw. In reality, of course, we'd be happy for our friends or family if they were stunningly beautiful. We'd be proud even! In fiction, though, we need some flaws to balance out the beauty.

I hope I didn't speak out of turn for Pippa but I think I understood where she was coming from...
#64 - June 21, 2013, 10:06 AM

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Motherhood though? That's my zone. I feel like I can  (and have) handle any challenge tossed my way in that arena. It's like my life experiences were about training me to be their mom. Plus,  I research more for motherhood than anything else in my life (including graduate degrees).  THEY are my career. The teaching before & now the author bit are my jobs.

Melissa, I don't have kids, but I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. So often it seems like flashy high-powered careers are given more glamour and prestige than motherhood; I have seen so many people agree that a smart woman shouldn't "waste" her education or her talent by staying at home with kids. (Yes, I've been told personally that a career after grad school and kids are either/or.) It's something I've been thinking about a lot, lately, especially since my mom left an engineering job to homeschool me and my two sisters.

Anyway! That was my tangent. Back to the regularly scheduled programming. :)

Karen
#65 - June 21, 2013, 10:22 AM
Out now: DEADLY DELICIOUS

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Melissa, I don't have kids, but I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. So often it seems like flashy high-powered careers are given more glamour and prestige than motherhood; I have seen so many people agree that a smart woman shouldn't "waste" her education or her talent by staying at home with kids.

I have heard that my whole life...and as a Marine wife it was worse. My husband was told flat-out that his promotions would be hampered by me. It was infuriating. I was homeschooling the kids, working, & writing.  Somehow, I was still lacking as a Marine wife.  It is TOTALLY possible to have a career & be a devoted mother (or be a stellar dad & successful in career).  It requires sacrificing other things, but it's possible. I have no social life, don't watch TV, & our laundry is sorted into baskets rather than folded.  My career has been fine though (5 NYT bestsellers & some awards), & my kids rock. They're well-balanced, well-traveled, straight As, and athletic. Don't ever let people say you can't do it all.  If folks dropped the HOURS of TV they watch every day, they'd see that more clearly. Those pre-school years are hard, but after the kids start school, a person can either get a career or go crazy with all those empty hours. 

I think Pippa is talking in terms of fiction... not reality. You know how it is, you read about this wonderful mum (who could probably be you!) who never shouts at her children. In reality, that mum might be your friend or relative who you think is fabulous. In fiction, that mum might be easier to swallow (er, not literally!) if she's seriously flawed in other ways, you know?

Possibly, but I'll be honest: reading that this is the only way to portray a mother who doesn't disrespect her kids is offensive as all get out to me.  If it's not "possible to make her heroic or even likeable. Scary, yes. Smarmy, sickening and delusion definitely " that's sad...and insulting to the mothers who live by this parenting philosophy.  Now, I suppose I could be delusional & really be "smarmy, sickening," and  "scary," & not "even likable."

Sorry to be sensitive, but this is my button.  Tell me I fail as a writer, and I'll shrug. Tell me that the way I parent isn't possible or that it makes me "smarmy"? Sorry. That's insulting whether it's in fiction or in a discussion. 
#66 - June 21, 2013, 11:40 AM

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Melissa, like you, I feel like motherhood is truly my area of strength.  I'm not perfect, not even close, but I know that I was put here to be my kiddos' mom, and despite my mistakes (which will happen), I know I'm a great mom to them.  Our relationship is one of mutual respect and understanding, and they're not only obedient (for the most part), but they also know how to question and think for themselves. 

And I'm another who does not enjoy the idea that a strong, compassionate, non-yelling, etc mom isn't possible (in fiction or real life).  In fact, that's one pet peeve that will turn me off a book faster than almost anything else...so I would have to disagree that it's necessary, even in fiction, to portray a strong mom with other 'serious' flaws to make her accessible or palatable -- especially if it's a children's book.  Kids may not have the perception necessary to see their mom's insecurities, but I personally don't feel it's necessary to throw in something ridiculously horrible just to make it clear to kid readers.  In fact, I think it would be great to find books with strong parenting in them, so kiddos know it's possible (either in their own childhood or when they are parents someday).  *shrugs*  Just my opinion, of course.  :)
#67 - June 21, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Possibly, but I'll be honest: reading that this is the only way to portray a mother who doesn't disrespect her kids is offensive as all get out to me.

My turn to be sensitive then. I sometimes shout but that does NOT mean I disrespect my kids. I was just trying to see both sides of the story. You see? It's easy to write something that feels like criticism to someone else when it is not meant that way.

I doubt very much that anyone intended to make you feel attacked for your parenting style but I get how it came across like that. I would bet it was not intended to offend.
#68 - June 21, 2013, 03:13 PM

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My turn to be sensitive then. I sometimes shout but that does NOT mean I disrespect my kids.

Valid point. I apologize for my poor word choice & making you feel that way.
#69 - June 21, 2013, 03:46 PM

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I LOVE it that you value motherhood, Melissa. That you think about it, study it, research and apply all of you heart and soul to it. If more people did that, the world would be a better, more peaceful place. Karen, what you said really resonated with me, too.

From reading this thread, I see that the idea of "yelling at your kids" actually means more than one thing, depending on how you use it. There's "yelling" as in always being angry and belittling and demeaning, or there's "yelling" as in just being a verbally outspoken and loud family in general, and there's "yelling" when your kid is about to get hit by a car, and there's "yelling" that doesn't even involve your voice but maybe some cool eyebrow tricks to let your kid know they've overstepped. "Not yelling" to one person can mean an environment where people work out their disagreements peacefully, or to another person, it can mean an environment where the parent never disciplines. I just...think it's important to realize that two people can use the same words and mean something completely different.
#70 - June 22, 2013, 09:37 PM

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Very true and wise, Rose.
#71 - June 22, 2013, 09:44 PM
Robin
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So true. My sister and I are a year and a half apart. She grew up thinking my parents fought constantly and she had to escape the stress. I grew up thinking they never fought and was so surprised to disagree with my husband...

I think it's interesting in fiction to show how "yelling" is perceived by the child - to set up the "story rules" in the way that works for your character and your book. You could have a mom with a big personality that's given to lots of hugging and crying and shouting and a kid who feels loved and secure in the midst of that much emotion. Or a child who just wants her mom to be quiet and "normal." You could have a child with a very reserved mom who never yells but uses her "disappointed tone" and a kid who just wishes her mom would say what she means and not use so much subtext all the time. It's an interesting avenue to explore, I think. ;)

#72 - June 23, 2013, 11:16 AM
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So true. Yelling doesn't always stem from the same emotion in the yeller nor does it produce the same emotion in the yellee!

I think my character may well become my best and most thought-out character in the book, though! It's always the more complex characters that are the most interesting, I think.

Thanks all!
#73 - June 24, 2013, 09:07 AM

 :sorry Sorry I didn't get back sooner, Melissa! I've only just checked in here to see what's been posted.

HUGE, huge, apologies for not clarifying my position - Franzilla read me right when she guessed I was refering to a fictional mom. It's my warped sense of humor kicking in (oops, sorry again!) where I imagined she meant an exaggerated, sweet talking mom as an extremely ineffective parent - not a mom portraying good parenting skills. I'm behind you 200% regarding mutual respect and not resorting to demeaning discipline.

I'm with Olmue, too, regarding how to interpret 'yelling'. Again, I think my response was tainted by seeing spineless moms (who don't raise their voice ever) with  omniscient kids who have no respect for them or anyone else. Obviously NOT the kind of parenting you, and others here, emulate.

This has been a great lesson in different perspectives! It's been enlightening and encouraging to see all the great moms on this thread. I have to say as a fellow home schooling mom who faced similar challenges to you, Melissa, (though I don't think mine can compare) I take my hat off to you. I can't tell you how sorry I am to have come across as disparaging ... though I can totally see how my comments were overly offensive instead of flippant. I've really got to work on my hyperbole ... hanging my head in shame.
#74 - July 17, 2013, 11:10 AM
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 11:30 AM by Pippa »
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Thank you for clarifying, Pippa. Very nicely said!
#75 - July 18, 2013, 03:37 AM
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Sadly, my kids have learned they don't have to listen until I yell.  Now, I'll ask them to do something, and if I'm on the second request, I say, "I am going to yell if I have to ask again." (They're 9 and 12.) It's my fault.  I should've imposed consequences sooner a long time ago.

My SIL is very strict with her kids.  If they don't listen, it's a time out, or removal from the activity at hand, but she never ever yells.  It's just calm instruction and explanations. (at least that I've seen!)  I'm always impressed because she's got very active 6 year old twins.
#76 - August 01, 2013, 09:45 AM
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I don't often yell... because my brain tumor is located in just the right spot, so that it causes me to get lightheaded and sometimes completely black out when I raise my voice. (I also have to avoid angry people, screaming children and any kind of contention, because angry, loud noises make my body shut down.) We go places, and people constantly marvel at how well-behaved my kiddos are. Because they all know that it's literally painful for mommy when they aren't behaving themselves. (Of course, in the privacy of our own home, they totally take advantage of the situation. Not always, but if they don't want to do their chores, all they have to do is throw a temper tantrum, and I literally can't do anything to make them do it!)
#77 - August 15, 2013, 08:30 AM

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I believe there are mums like that. In books. Specifically, in FICTION.

Hahaha...exactly.
#78 - August 15, 2013, 09:31 AM
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