Sheila’s quest to stop yelling at her kids for an entire year started one day when she was nursing her baby and her three other boys – all 5 or younger – were running around screaming. “I lost it," she said. "Our handyman was in the house, and he heard it. I came out, beet red, and said, ‘Did you hear that?’”
He did. But Sheila realized that the handyman wasn’t the person whose reaction she should care about. “The opinion I should care about is my kids,” she decided. “They would stop and look at me with a look of such fear.”
And so began her challenge to herself – and her blog that documents it, TheOrangeRhino.com. The mom from Summit, N.J. – who prefers to be called the Orange Rhino Mom or by her first name, Sheila, to protect her kids privacy – had to start over again several times at the beginning. “You’re not going to last 10 minutes,” her husband had first told her. (See her above photo of two of her boys in the refrigerator for one example of why hubby was skeptical.)
But Sheila is about to complete her “excrutiatingly hard” challenge this week, she says. And she has plenty of advice to share that she gathered along the way. “Not having that raging scream come out of me…it sounds corny, but I feel lighter. I literally feel like I’m walking taller,” she says.
Sheila chose the name Orange Rhino for her quest for two reasons: Rhinos are naturally peaceful but when provoked, they charge, she says. “When I’m triggered, I charge with my voice,” she says. And orange is a color that evokes warmth, she says.
She says she’s done every crazy thing possible to stop yelling, including yelling into the closet and banging her arms on her chest like a gorilla. She uses orange napkins at dinner – a particularly challenging time – to remind her of her resolve.
Two of her blog posts may be especially helpful to parents who want to stop yelling.
Sheila has also launched a free program to help other people, called “30 Days to Yelling Less” in which she breaks the quest into 12 steps. To join in, go to Facebook.com/theorangerhino.