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Today through a long series of link clicks starting with a sibling rivalry article and ending with an anger management article, the internet really slapped me in the face. Apparently - brace yourself now - the way a parent relates to his/her child and the child's other parent directly influences the way the child relates to his/her sibling. WHOAH! Really? So all I have to do to solve the pre-school yelling problem in my house is just - what? - stop yelling myself?? *slapping forehead* If only someone had told me before. It's so SIMPLE.

I admit that I do yell, but usually that's because I'm making the stupid mistake of trying to talk over Bryce and Quinn fighting. There are times, though, that I yell just because Bryce is doing something blatantly wrong, like sneaking up on Quinn, stealing his blanket, and running away in glee. I also yell when Quinn, who is obsessed with throwing things away, is getting into the trash can to make sure what he just put in there is still safely nestled amidst all the other household refuse. And also when the kids act like wild, starved chimps in a cruel experiment where they have to fight to the death over the lone banana.

Okay, so there's parental yelling. But if the yelling is setting some sort of behavioral example, I would expect the associated activities to trigger their yelling - meaning when one of them sees the other one do something dangerous or against the household rules, THEN they would yell. But, if this theory is 100% accurate, the way my kids yell suggests that I wake up every morning and at the top of my lungs scream, "DID YOU TAKE THE TRASH DOWN TO THE CURB? I'M GOING TO LET THE DOG OUT NOW. WOW, LOOK AT THE SUNRISE! HEY, WHY IS IT SO DARK IN HERE? IS IT BECAUSE EVERYONE IS STILL ASLEEP?" Seriously. Yelling is their preferred method of communication. And when that's the case, how do I get them to stop without yelling myself? Oh, don't counsel me on ignoring, time-outs, and whispering to get their attention. I've read all those books too - and we've been down that road, with the whole "we're going to stay patient and be consistent this time" attitude that ultimately landed us RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED - with the Brothers of Loudness yelling, laughing, stomping, and - did I say yelling? - all the way.

Solve that problem, O Wise Internet.