A recent ‘Parents’ survey revealed that out of all the guilt-inducing acts of parenting, shouting at children took the top spot.
Indeed, while it is easy to blow your lid and let the little troublemakers have it, once you’ve calmed down, you’re often filled with a sense of regret and self-loathing. Yelling, after all, has a multitude of negative effects on both yourself and your child.
Beyond making you go hoarse, frequent shouting can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels. Studies have also shown that being screamed at can turn children more aggressive with their peers. Besides, the bottom line is that it simply is not the mature way of managing conflict you want to teach your young ones.
However, for most of us, yelling is a habit, and like all habits, kicking it will not be an overnight feat. Instead, taking small steps in the right direction can go a long way in phasing out the bad practice:
VGstockstudio/Shutterstock A peaceful mind leads to a peaceful household
Like all great things, peace must come from within. When you have perfected the art of inner sanctity, no disaster or chaos scenario your children throw at you will be able to rattle you.
This is, of course, much easier said than done. When you’re constantly juggling chores and tasks, it can be near-impossible to maintain a cool head, and strains flare easily when they’re brimming just under the surface.
A good first step to take in developing an unshakeable calmness is daily meditation. You do not need to break out candles and lock yourself in your room for hours on end. A simple 5-10 minutes a day of introspection and deep breathing can go a long way in recentering your energy and easing daily frustrations. There are plenty of apps, free and paid, that can help you achieve this.
Come up with a word or short phrase, something that represents serenity to you and reminds you to pacify rather than shout. It could be anything from a saying, like, “choose love,” to a single word that puts you at ease, like “warmth.” Discuss your chosen words with your partner.
The next time a situation breaks out and you find yourself on the verge of eruption, bring to mind your mantra. If you recognize your partner is about to lose it, quickly step in and reiterate their mantra to them. The effect a single word or phrase can have in immediately uncluttering your judgment and quelling your anger can be incredibly powerful, as it reminds you that anger is a choice and one you do not move to make.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Disciplining your kid is as important as loving them
Not all yelling is done out of anger or frustration – in fact, you may not realize how much you raise your volume to communicate mundane instructions. Yelling at children to come downstairs for dinner is an example, as well as simply shouting to ask them to bring over the remote control when they’re out of earshot.
In and of itself, this may seem innocent enough, but when done routinely this practice can normalize communicating at loud, unnecessary volumes.
Instead, make a habit out of simply walking over to your children to ask them questions or deliver instructions. It may cost you a few extra steps, but it will be worth it, and after a while, you will see that the general tone in which you and your kids communicate has become quieter and more mellow.
Photographee.eu/Shutterstock: Keep your calm while your kids annoy you
While yelling may seem like the most direct, effective way to get your children to cooperate, more often than not, it has the opposite effect. A raised voice can incite a child’s rebellious tendencies, and at the end of the day, the kid still does not understand why they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing.
So although it may be hard to swallow your frustration, it is worth taking the time to talk things out with your kids.
Are they throwing a tantrum or behaving badly? Take a deep breath, sit down with them, and in a calm, even tone, explain to them why their behavior is not acceptable. Ask them why they want to keep engaging in said actions and provide alternatives and compromises.
While this may definitely take more time than simply shouting at them to stop, it not only holds back a teary breakdown but also usually gets your kid to see eye to eye with you.
All advice is easy to give but hard to follow – you will not be able to accomplish all the tips listed in this article overnight, and neither should you attempt to. Cut yourself some slack, being a parent is no easy task and you have already taken a step in the right direction by looking into ways to cut down on shouting.
A sincere, determined effort on your part will see a shift in the attitudes of the entire household. The next time you yell, it would be such an unusual occurrence that your children will actually stop and listen.