Unfortunately, many parents who yell at their children, although aware that they should stop, don’t think there’s any other way to get the child’s attention. After all, it’s our obligation to teach and educate the child and how else are we going to get them to listen? Yelling can’t hurt, anyway, since they barely hear what we’re saying and they know we love them very much, anyway…This is what many parents think, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, their parents’ yelling is frightening for children and makes them less receptive to their parents. When you yell at children, they either go into defensive mode, start fighting, yell back, or they don’t do anything, choosing the passive reaction, waiting for the screaming to end faster. But either way, they stop being receptive to what we’re saying.
What’s more, by screaming at our children we teach them to simply stop listening while we’re talking in a loud voice. So, if you think that your child is not scared by your yelling, it’s just proof that he’s heard it so many different times, that he’s developed a defense mechanism, both against your screaming, and you.
What’s certain is that directing your anger towards your child only pushes him away from you, regardless of his age. In adolescence, a child whose parents used to yell will only know how to communicate by raising his voice. He won’t be open to communicating with his parents, which will make him susceptible to bad influences. This is how parents lose their influence on their child in a very important moment of his life.
However, there are families where parents don’t yell at their children. And we’re not talking about families where emotions are repressed or who have perfect children who would never do anything that was reason enough for yelling. We’re talking about families where parents know what buttons to push, in order to not release all their anger on their children.
Here are 10 suggestions that that will help you eliminate yelling from you communication with your kids
1. Talk to your children on a respectful tone. When you don’t know how to react, you can just choose to be authentic and tell them that you’re also learning how to be a parent and that sometimes you make mistakes, but that you’re constantly trying to make things better.
2. Understand that being a parent also means learning how to manage your own emotions. A parent who can do that will also show the child how. Kids learn how to be empathic to us when we are also empathic to them. And they learn how to yell when we yell at them.
3. Don’t forget that children are just being children! They’re not adults yet, and they are in a developmental stage where they test the reality around them and experiment just to see how things play out. Their brain won’t be fully developed until the age of 20 and until then they will be driven by emotions first, not by reason. And, just like any other person, no child likes to be controlled.
4. Take responsibility for your emotional state. There’s no such thing as “My boss, my kid, my husband made me mad,” there’s only “I got mad.” If you rewind the scene that upset you in your head, you will notice that there was a certain moment when you could choose whether to become upset or not. And that, most likely, had you been in a different emotional state, you wouldn’t have gotten mad at all at the things your boss, your kid or your husband said or did. It’s wholly within our power to make an activity pleasant, to make it feel good.
5. Try to understand what your child is feeling. This empathy will be a first step in your child’s education and will help you get along better with him. When the child understands that his feelings are accepted and understood, he will learn how to manage them and will be in better control of his behavior, or, as is the case for teenagers, will lose the desire to rebel.
6. Always be connected to the child and try to see things from his point of view. When kids feel that their parents are on their side, they usually try their best to behave.
7. When you feel yourself getting mad, stop and keep your mouth shut. Don’t make any decisions and don’t do anything until you’ve calmed down, even if you need to stop in the middle of the sentence. Breathe deeply. Count to 10.
8. Notice your own emotions. Take three steps back and watch yourself from the outside. Anger has a number of components: fear, sadness, and disappointment. Notice how you relate to all of these emotions. If you feel like crying, cry and the anger will go away.
9. Find an anchor for your own well-being, wisdom and calm. During a moment when you feel good, pick a word, a gesture, a prayer, a mantra, an image (an angel, for example) that reminds you of your good mood and that this is the mood you want to be in at all times. And in tense moments, just think of that image or word and you will instantly feel better.
10. Take a step towards your child. Apologize when you make a mistake. Give him time to cry when he needs to or when he’s throwing a tantrum. When the child needs to spend time with you, you can stop what you were doing and read a book or do some other activity until your child feels better. Also, you can help him help himself: after you told him what he needs to do, ask him to repeat what you said, so that you’re both sure he’s understood.
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