Yell at Your Child Less
Last week I spoke at the Parent Teachers Association of the International School and when I ran across this article today I thought parents would find it interesting if they need ways to deal with difficult children.
How to Talk More, Yell Less
April 11th, 2013 by admin
Caring for children, whether you’re a parent or a professional, requires an indefatigable well of patience. While losing that patience from time to time is both normal and natural, it can still leave you plagued with guilt and doubts about your ability to nurture the little ones under your care. Learning how to talk to your children more and to yell at them less may not eliminate those moments of lost control altogether, but they can make a difference in the way you communicate as a whole.
Take Care of Yourself
Managing the busy schedules of everyone in your household, staying on top of the chores required to run that household properly and making sure that everyone is fed on a regular basis doesn’t leave much time for parental pampering, but caring for yourself is an essential part of caring for your children. When you’re struggling with your own fatigue and are feeling hungry, stressed or overwhelmed, your patience is the first thing to go. Make sure that you carve out a bit of time for yourself over the course of the day, even if it’s just a few minutes. You’ll find that you’re better equipped to handle situations as they arise, and less likely to resort to raised voices when you reach the end of your proverbial rope.
Embarking on a journey that hasn’t been properly planned or running with no real plan of action in place for how to handle your seemingly-endless to-do list is just asking for trouble. When you’re trying to get reluctant kids to get in the car or to stop dawdling and you’re attempting to keep to your hasty, ill-formed schedule or running at full tilt to get to the store before it closes, you’re naturally going to be running on empty. Just a bit of preparation in advance can help you create a structured schedule that still has a bit of wiggle room, leaving you under less stress and far less likely to scream at everyone around you when the pressure becomes too much to handle.
Learn Deep Breathing Techniques
Before you lose your temper and start shouting to get your point across, take a moment to stop and breathe deeply for a few seconds. When you hold your breath, you become even tenser and exhaust what little patience you have left. Take deep, slow breaths that you hold for a few seconds before exhaling, or even walk out of the room for a few seconds to regain your composure. As an added bonus, practicing deep breathing in front of your children models effective and productive ways of managing frustration. Remember that your kids will mimic almost everything you do, especially when they’re small. Seeing you take deep breaths and a short time out to keep your temper in check may rub off on them, and it will certainly help you to keep your emotions in check.
Set Clear Consequences, and Adhere to Them
Shouting happens when you’ve threatened your child with dire consequences if he doesn’t cease his misbehavior or follow directions, but continue to issue those empty threats rather than delivering on real consequences. Setting actual boundaries for your children and letting them know the consequences of choosing not to heed your warning is one thing, but you’ll have to follow through. Don’t allow yourself to be dissuaded from allowing those consequences to manifest, or your kids will just start to believe that your threats are empty.
Be Firm, Not Mean
There’s a difference between being firm and being downright mean, and you’ll have to learn to strike that balance if you’re looking to facilitate real and productive conversations with your children. No one wants to talk with someone they think is just going to be mean, even if that person is Mom or Dad. Make sure that you’re never crossing the line from stern into cruel territory, and make sure that you’re truly listening when your kids share their opinions.
It’s important to remember that yelling only breeds more yelling, which leads to major confrontations and hurt feelings. Trying to keep your temper under some semblance of control is a very real challenge, but it’s one that will make all of the difference in your household.