The Swear Jar - reinvented

I was reading an article on parenting last week and it talked about how damaging yelling is.  

I have written two posts about losing my temper (yelling) at my teenage daughter lately. Once for watching TV in the shower (instead of doing her homework)... and later for not letting the dog out in the morning (so he went potty in her bathroom).

I don’t think I yell a lot, but I am told when I do yell that it is “scary.” Not good.  I don’t want to be that person. I definitely don’t want to be that parent.  

Yelling doesn’t work anyway.  The behavior comes right back.  It creates anxiety for your child… and frankly, it makes me more anxious too.  After I am done yelling about some mess that was created, or reminding my teenager to do something for the  “umpteenth” time, I always feel like I have just thrown up all over myself and her.  So even as a metaphor, it’s pretty disgusting.  

This all started me thinking about being more accountable for my yelling.  Maybe I could find a way to calculate exactly how much yelling vs. repeating I am doing?  I decided to implement a system that will quantify my unwanted behavior: I am re-branding the “swear jar.”  

I came up with a two-jar system:

The “yell” jar.  If I yell, I have to put money in the jar.  (If I swear while yelling, I have to put in double.)

My daughter has a jar too.  It’s called the “repeat” jar.  If I ask her to do something and she doesn’t do it (and I have to remind her), she has to put money in that jar. Every time I remind her, money in the jar.

We are starting with quarters because that seems reasonable.  

It’s been 24 hours and I haven’t yelled once.  It feels really good. My daughter seems to be listening better too. She did end up forgetting to pick her clothes up off the floor, and I had to remind her, so she had to deposit a quarter in the “repeat” jar.  She seemed happy to do it… and grateful that she didn’t get yelled at.

We’ll see how this experiment goes.  Maybe I’m on to something…