parent opinion

Zoe Marshall writes: 'I've been yelling at my baby and I don't feel any guilt about it.'

I did it again. I thought it was a one off thing but I did it again. I thought I would feel more shame about it but it was momentary and now I don’t feel anything about it, definitely not guilt.

I yelled at Fox. He was on a high change table and he was wriggling like a UFC fighter in a choke hold (he wasn’t in a choke hold FYI) and had done a massive poo.

He started screaming about the nappy change, moving and poo was about to fling around the room. So I said very firmly, “Stop wriggling.” He of course didn’t and screamed at me louder. So I yelled, “STOP IT, LIE DOWN PLEASE.”

He was a little shocked, to be honest. So was I. Fox is over a year now and we hadn’t been in this situation before. Yelling.

He went back to screaming and I yelled over the top of his yell, “I CAN YELL LOUDER.” And he simmered down slightly amused (I think) and let me change his nappy.

I don’t know what it is but the nappy change has become the hardest part of my day. I need to meditate or have a glass of wine to calm down after it.

Zoe Marshall talks about experiencing parent guilt when she yells at her son, Fox.

So it happened again today. I removed the high change table as it was becoming a hazard and I’ve started changing him on his play mat. I even put Elmo on my phone as this sometimes works to calm the maniac.

But it didn’t. He still wanted to wrestle me like a vicious crocodile. I asked myself why I am tolerating this bad behaviour, is it even bad behaviour? Does he need boundaries? Is he going to become a brat?

In that moment I raised my voice. “That is enough thank you, stop rolling I am trying to change your nappy. BELIEVE ME I WOULD RATHER BE DOING OTHER THINGS TOO!”

Once again, he protested for a moment and then gave in. Almost like he knew he was being unreasonable but still wanted the last word.

I need a guide. Who is the specialist on the right amount of yelling? Does it work? Will it run out of power if I do too much? He seems to understand the word no. He throws his head back like a distressed soap actress every time I say it.


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This morning I couldn’t even go to the toilet without him being on my lap. I thought this is crazy. As a human being, I have the right to go to the toilet alone. Prisoners get to go to the toilet alone, sometimes sharing a cell but they don’t have a cell mate sitting on their lap. This is my right!

So after that moment I thought, that’s it! The next time he whinged I was taking a stand. I was the boss here.. right? I walked away and he thought I had abandoned him. I was still in his eye line mind you. I kept walking and he crawled and cried the whole way up the hall.

Then he got distracted and stopped. Then he realised he stopped and started whinging again, and this process went on for five minutes until he stopped completely. I realised in that moment he knows exactly how to manipulate me. He knows how to get me to do WHATEVER he wants.

Now I have to somehow carefully navigate my way around this little dictator and make sure his needs are met and I am not going insane, or even worse – raising a brat. Something inside me says this is the very start of my yelling phase.

Do you yell at your children? Tell us about it in the comments section below. 

Listen to the entire episode of The Baby Bubble where Sean and Zoe talk all about parenting and sacrifice, baby swim classes (are they really necessary) and how Sean’s managed to get some control back into his life since becoming a dad to twin babies.

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