Whenever there was fighting in the house, the dog would run and get her bowl, it was as if she was nervous and didn't know what to do with herself and she would run about and eventually grab her bowl and come running back saying 'look its ok, everybody can calm down now, I have a bowl, I have a bowl'
There was always fighting in our house. Shouting, arguing, fighting, hitting...it was all pretty normal and everyday occurrences in our home. We all had our say and we all got it said and got on with our day. We'd shout from one room to the next for attention, we'd shout upstairs and downstairs. My brother and I fought constantly, he continually bullied and belittled me physically and verbally. My sister and brother were the same. My dad shouted a lot at my sister. My mum shouted a lot at all of us. We were a loud family who used our voices to be heard and our hands if we weren't. I don't ever remember my parents intervening but I suspect they were not around a lot of the times it was happening, dad being at work or mum being in bed or in the kitchen. I don't remember thinking that this wasn't exactly the greatest of environments to be raised in.
When we got older I was always the mediator in our home between my parents and my sister. By this time, my brother had become the grouchy teenager so everyone kept out of his way or I'd be randomly hit. I spent many an hour talking down my mother or sister from their latest battle, an international battle at that, as she was living in a different country. I still didn't realise that this probably wasn't the best of environments to be raised in.
Fast forward a few decades and here I am with my own family and my own arguments and my own fighting and my own shouting and then getting on with things, feeling better for having got it off my chest. My husband was constantly amazed at how I could be so shouty and angry one minute and it be all over and done with the next. It wasn't until he pointed out to me recently that in their family whenever there was fighting or shouting it was a serious occasion and cause for concern that I realised how differently things were done in our house.
Is this how I want it to be for my family? Do I want it to be a normal day to day occurrence or a serious take note occurrence? How does it feel for the girls when I am arguing and shouting? What do they see?
I often tell my girls that 'we don't hit in our house' If there is a problem we use our words. I realise my need for no physical bullying obviously stems from my childhood but the shouting and anger and explosion...how come they have stayed?
I am all too aware of the theories and articles about gentle and conscious parenting so it makes me even more scared of what I can go with shouty anger. When things get on top of me and I feel that familiar feeling of not being happy with the way things are heading, I can feel the familiar shouty voice coming in and I take great efforts not to go there or I can end up being there too long and then it all gets out of hand and uncontrollable and I just KNOW I need to shut up but for some reason I can't. All this stuff pours out, all these itty bitty nasty remarks, it all gets out of hand I end up muttering and grumbling in a corner of the kitchen whilst the girls have worked out to stay away coming back every so often to ask if all my anger is out yet. In my worst possible moments I see it is me who needs to find ways to get my anger out in a non attacking, less directed and shaming way...I have a lot to unlearn and relearn.
Until I have mastered the art of NVC, I think it is important for the girls to know that from anger and shouting can come resolving and working out. If they see us fighting and shouting, they should also see the calming down and the discussing properly and the working out part, together after.
I also now realise that after all that has taken place, I should make more of an effort to discuss with them what has happened and let them talk about it too.
Its all so much to remember, I need a little Marshall cricket on my shoulder