Shouting At The Kids: Harsh But True

Terrible bushfires have only recently passed through here

The photo here shows the charred trees by the roadside as my daughter Ms13 and I drove down the Bells Line of Road. A mammoth bushfire tore through this area just before Christmas and this road was closed for two weeks.

Seeing all these charred hillsides was a shock, very confronting indeed. And that’s part of the reason I was feeling quite woundable today. Vulnus, the root of the word vulnerable means woundable… ah the benefits of a classical education.

Anyway, on those vulnerable days it’s best not to spend a lot of time in close quarters with a very grumpy teenager, who salves her soul by lashing out… at times viciously. I really do not like being treated rudely, being talked to sarcastically and being general used as a doormat. Especially when driving.

So, it was an EFFORT to remain calm when I wanted, at times, to scream and yell and to weep… could have done both simultaneously, I bet.

Which made me think back… I knew it at the time… I did know but it didn’t stop me… I did realise that I was always much crankier with the kids when I had had a glass of wine, or three or four. Why was that when it’s supposed to relax you – duh! I just wanted to be left in peace… or I’d be slack and not stay on top of them to make sure that screens were off and lights thereafter. Yegads, the extreme boredom of the endless, endless requirements for consistency.

So then, more often than when I hadn’t had a drink, I would shout at the kids.. and feel furious. Because they were stopping me from tippling away – the hounds.

Thing is, I really do not believe in shouting at children, not even at teenagers. It is a zero-win game… it’s lame… and we adults need to model the better ways to deal with frustrations… at least 90% of the time.

Anyway, I didn’t yell or shout or screech… and indeed we had some fun moments together. Glad to stop for a pizza at one of the cafes in Bilpin, almost all saved yet so shocking to see nothing left of Tutti Frutti.

And after more initial frustration in Sydney, there was this. Bliss with a salty sea tang. Ms13 refused to swim, but did concede that sitting by the sea has been good. Miracle.

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