Lately, I'm ashamed to say, I've been letting exasperation, impatience, and selfishness get the better of me. I've yelled at the kids, and much more often than I should. My husband got quite upset with me (rightly so) and pointed out that me yelling wasn't achieving anything.
And he's right, when yelling becomes habitual, it's never going to be effective, and I had reached a horrible state where my knee-jerk response to fighting, tantrum throwing, or disobedience, was to yell.
It achieved NOTHING. 9 times out of 10, the kids would continue what they were doing, or they would become even more upset, and I would feel terrible. The horrible, shouty mother.
So, I decided to try an experiment. I started biting my tongue, and not yelling. I started talking overall in a much softer, calmer voice, ESPECIALLY when the kids are throwing a tantrum or doing something they shouldn't. I started asking nicely, instead of commanding. To my amazement, it's working. If I speak softly, and ask them 'please close that cupboard, darling', they're far more likely to do it with a smile, than if I yelled 'Close that cupboard now!' If I hold them, and rock them, and shush them during a crying fit or temper tantrum, it soothes them. Impatience and yelling were never going to do that. I'm not saying that my kids have suddenly turned into angels, or that I've suddenly became Caroline Ingalls, but I'm calmer, the kids are calmer, and exhibiting more and more in the way of good behaviour, and our home is generally a nicer place to be.
St Francis de Sales was right - honey will always win over vinegar.