This Family Will Live by the Precepts of JeDuBu

I have had it with living in a yelling house. And by yelling, I don't meant hollering to get each others' attention because of the cavernous and sound-dampening nature of our dwelling, but shrieking with fury because we are bucking under the strain of being in middle school and having responsibilities, and do not like the consequences of neglecting said responsibilities. Or we are, possibly, a female adult reacting to said middle school shrieking.

I have told Iz that I will help her with her self-organization skills, but that she has to take responsibility for managing her own business in a timely manner, even if books and TV beckon more alluringly. I reminded her that she's ninety percent of the way there with most of her school work and self-starting her homework, etc.

And I told her that there would be no more yelling in anger. Not at all. It's intolerable, it's going to give me a blood-pressure-triggered heart attack, and it's a horrible example for her siblings. It turns our pleasant, well-organized morning school drop off routine into a traveling misery-fest.

So, what will we do? We do our best to follow the examples of non-yellers Jesus, Dumbledore, and Buddha. We will become a JeDuBu household.

The Precepts of JeDuBu
  • We will give each other the benefit of the doubt instead of making accusations.
  • We will be mindful that ours is one of only two perspectives in a dialog.
  • We will pause whenever we feel the urge to yell, and wait until we can speak calmly.
  • We will try to be patient, and wait for the other person to finish talking before we speak.
  • We will try to accommodate each others' emotional states.
  • We will remember that we love each other, and treat each other as loved ones.
  • We will reserve the right to tweak each other's noses non-maliciously, as needed.
What else do you think these guys would add to the list above?


  1. Good list. How about..."We will not close a door on the other person." (if such a thing is physically happening, or it could be that metaphysical door too...)

  2. oh, gee. that's a toughy. And I'm having the same problem. Only Lola's maybe 50% of the way there, if she's lucky. and every time she focuses on what she's behind in, she gets behind in what's been on time. facepalm. I think I may need to try that as well....

  3. Anonymous11:24 AM

    You forgot Gandhi.

    Also, you need to build a positive incentive plan into this for both of you. Maybe something very concrete and visual. Like a glass jar and every time either one of you manage to negotiate a situation well, you get to put a token into it, or even a white board with check marks or magnet tokens. It gets tallied up once a week and then something good happens. Or a plan for her that rewards her for remembering to do her homework or remember her instrument or whatever.

    I bet your middle schooler will be as responsive to a positive behavior plan as her siblings. She certainly won’t be immune to it. She’s brainy, but she’s still a kid. And so are you, even though you have a birthday coming up!

  4. Where's Yoda? And why are they all men, anyway? Hmmn. So who would be the woman?

  5. "--We will pause whenever we feel the urge to yell, and wait until we can speak calmly.
    --We will try to be patient, and wait for the other person to finish talking before we speak.
    --We will try to accommodate each others' emotional states.
    --We will remember that we love each other, and treat each other as loved ones."

    These are our core operating principles. Seems to work pretty well, but they're boys and not in middle school yet. ;-)

  6. Cat, I thought about Ms. Frizz from The Magic School Bus, as interpreted by Lily Tomlin, but she doesn't ever deal with the kids' social issues -- she's always offscreen for that.

    Would love to hear from anyone re: non-stoic but peacemaking female role models. My brain is still a bit short-circuited from this morning and the car trip that inspired this post.

  7. Well, there's always Nik's favorite, Mary Poppins. One of my favorite sayings of hers: Enough is as good as a feast.

    Hope the JeDuBu campaign is effective. :-)

  8. That's awesome!
    I love the title as much as the contents of the list.

  9. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Ugh, tough one, a female buddha model. I think it might be that we have too many models of female composure through suppression and voicelessness, rather than inner stength.

    I hope your list works for you, and hope to implement my own. Posting lists like this does help.

  10. I love the list, and wish I could figure out how to implement it in the other direction... with my 65 year old mother who is great most of the time but does not always follow your rule #1 (which means that, as I am following rule #3.... to pause when I feel the urge to yell... I have not responded to some unfair snarking of hers since Saturday!)

  11. Hmmm, the best I can think of is Pollyanna - annoying, but a very little bit of her attitude might be helpful. Not sure how to put this succinctly, but would a reminder that yelling disturbs all members of the household and shatters the peace for the innocent as well as the immediate target be appropriate? That's a pretty good list, though, and covers all the basics I can think of.

  12. I'm not recommending it. But I'm curious. What happens if you yell back? Have you?

  13. Anonymous6:59 AM

    I was going to suggest the biblical matriarchs but realized that they are not perfect like JeDuBu, but then again maybe that's the ultimate power of being female. Our ability to recognize our failings and to work on fixing them, like working to fix the harmony or lack there of , in our homes. Maybe that's the power of being female that to be successful we do not have to think of ourselves as perfect.

    Middle school will pass. I promise. Of course you will be grayer but more wiser for the next time.

  14. Love this -- JeDuBu. My new middle schooler isn't a screamer, but his 5yo sister is, and will be. I need to file this away.

  15. I love this list.

    Badgerbag-- not sure how it works at Squid's house, but at mine we have tried yelling back, um, a lot (more than I'd like to admit) and it generally leads to an escalation of yelling and to general tears, anger, frustration and misery on all sides. Whereas, when we can manage it, not yelling back--accompanied by withdrawal of attention, giving the yeller some time to cool off, and/or calmly-stated consequences--tends to get things more on track. Or at least not send them off the rails.

    I've heard tell of families where everyone yells at each other and it clears the air and doesn't upset people lastingly, but not ours.


Respectful disagreement encouraged.