I have no idea how to stop shouting at my teenagers. This is because I am in denial. My son says I yell at him all the time. I think, what? When do I yell at you? I am a saint. I glide around the house talking in hushed whispers.
And then, the other day, I realised the truth.
'Time to get up!' I say softly, going into his room and drawing back the curtains. The light outside is grey and ghostly, the ground covered in frost.
His alarm clock screams. It's so loud, it makes my head hurt. He puts out an arm and turns it off.
Ten minutes later, I'm back in his room. 'Are you awake?' I say, a little more urgently. 'It's nearly half past seven.'
He grunts. The alarm on his phone plays at full volume. He reaches out and silences it.
Downstairs, I'm burning the toast. It's twenty to eight. I run upstairs and rush into his bedroom in a fury of panic.
'What?' he says, vaguely, from the depths of his duvet.
'YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE! GET UP!'
The thing is, of course, that he hasn't heard any of the build-up to this explosion. He slept through it all. So his first waking moment reveals a mad woman with furious eyes yelling at him.
It's the same after breakfast. There's a signed form he's got to take in to school. By now the whole household is skidding from room to room in a frantic rush to leave on time (including the kitten, although what her deadline is, I don't know). I say, 'Don't forget that envelope.'
He's got his shoes on. I say, 'Have you got that envelope?'
He's leaving the house. Racing past the kitchen table, I see the envelope still sitting there. I run to the front door, fling it open, and shout after him, 'THE ENVELOPE! DON'T FORGET THE ENVELOPE!'
He's right. I do yell at him. But I promise I do an awful lot of whispering first.
Does this sound familiar?
Any techniques that work for you on how to turn the volume down?