HELP! How Can I Stop Yelling at My Kids?
If you’re like me, you’re really trying to yell a whole lot less at your kids. This is definitely a topic that is close to home for me. I’m here to be honest and I can never act like the perfect parent. I try to be reflective as much as possible and something that I really want to change is – The way I respond to my kids when I’m frustrated. I have two toddlers at the moment of writing this post and I honestly just feel like I raise my voice too much!
Because of their ages I’m constantly trying to diffuse situations, clean up, wash, redirect, teach, shape, mold, play with and everything else in between. As a matter of fact regardless of a child’s age, we are always going to be doing these things. Stress is a real thing that we all face daily and many of us have different ways of dealing with stress. I think I’ve been pretty good at handling stress for most of my life but that was thrown out of the window after I had kids. Everyday is a new experience and yes, while it’s exciting it is definitely stressful, exhausting and often times frustrating.
I’ve been really reflective about this and if I’m honest my father raised his voice a lot. He just has a very deep voice with a lot of base, so even if he was just speaking loudly it could come across as raising his voice, when in fact he was just speaking. Makes me laugh now as I can remember many times asking him ” Why are you yelling” and his reply would often be “I’m not yelling”. Thirty something years later, here I am as a parent and finding that I’m acting similarly and I want to stop the cycle now. I am a pretty good communicator but what I’ve found is the raising of my voice comes out of exhaustion, stress and sheer frustration.
So here I am writing about it. I don’t want to yell as much as I do. So, I did some research and found so many great ideas that I am going to implement in my way thought process and in my household. I really hope these points are helpful to everyone as we are all in this thing called parenting together. If you’re reading this post, you may have noticed your negative patterns and want to change it as well, so well done to you. Here is what I’ve come up so far.
- Always remember that kids are going to be kids. Period. My daughter is so mature for her age, sometimes I honestly forget that she’s still a toddler. Sometimes I find myself getting upset at things and then I have to stop to remind myself – hold on…. she’s still so small. They are immature, young and learning and we have to expect that. They are going to push boundaries, as that’s part of their development. Their emotions are processed by different parts of their brains, which are still developing. And while there will obviously be limits – you have to accept that your children will be children. So pick your battles wisely.
- Do not displace your anger. Often times we have stressful lives- relationships, work, travel, family, children or sheesh we can get stressed when it’s time for bed. Yes, sometimes they are the root of our anger but often times if we are honest with ourselves we will find that our children really aren’t the ones who have caused us to be so angry. For me, this realization is like a wake up call to snap out of it. Who are you really angry with or what are you really angry about?
- You end up upsetting everyone. Raising our voices isn’t the best way to solve a problem and can eventually make everyone even more distressed that anyone needs to be. Sometimes after an incident I notice that everyone’s mood isn’t great and think to myself, Was that really worth it? Was it really that serious?
- Take a mommy or daddy time out. Do just as you would expect your child to do. Remove yourself from the situation and go to an area away from them. Do no look at them. Breathe, count, wash your face, stretch, shoot cry if you have to, just do whatever it is that you do to calm yourself down. Beneath all of that anger may be something else and often times if take the time to think about it we’ll find it – deep down inside. Try and figure it out before taking it out on your kids (which goes right back to displacing your anger).
- You don’t always have to win. We feel like we need to be the parents because we know better and they need to listen to us because they will be better kids. If our kids just listened to us they’d be perfect, right? WRONG! Letting our children make their own mistakes is part of helping them become awesome adults who are well adjusted and confident. Instead we should be there to support them when they need us and direct them as needed. This is obviously easier said than done but it’s definitely a point that I think is important.
- Our kids will eventually mimic our behavior. Children will initially be scared when we are yelling but eventually our kids may become accustomed to it and develop their own defense mechanisms against us. Consistently yelling normalizes the behavior and it’s almost guaranteed to continue and possibly get worse. They last thing we want is for our children to yell at their siblings or others like it’s normal.
- Before trying to control your kids control yourself. It’s our job to manage our own emotions because they learn from us. Rather than constantly trying to tell them, we need to be showing them the proper way to handle anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness and most importantly stress.
- Get help. How many times are we yelling at our children because we’re just so exhausted; physically, emotionally and mentally. There is nothing wrong with asking for help in any way. We are all human and we need time to renew ourselves. Yelling can be a sign of stress and tiredness; so don’t be afraid to say that all you really want is some help. Who do you have around you that can help you? Who do you trust your kids with? If you’re like me, I live in a new country and don’t have a very big support network here, so it’s been tough. But my husband has been extremely helpful and is always willing to help with the children, which has made such a big difference for everyone.
- Be reflective always. When do you find yourself most likely to get angry with your kids? Is it at night, homework time, tidying up time? Once you’ve narrowed down the situations that are more likely to get you going, you can then try to figure out solutions to mitigate the stress that it causes so hopefully you will be able to manage it better.
- Don’t give up. This is an ongoing attempt at changing a behaviour and behaviours are first changed in our minds. How we think about things will affect our behaviour, so try and change the way we think about frustration and how to deal with it. If you revert back to your old ways, it’s ok. Just reflect and keep trying. We don’t have to yell to be heard!
As I said this is a very open and honest thing that I’m trying to change and I hope you find some points that you can use to help you break out of this not so great practice. Leave some responses in the comments and I’m always willing to hear some other great tips. This is a work in progress for many of us but as long as we know that we need to change, our kids will definitely benefit from our efforts.
[Uneeq Question: What other tips do you have for the parenting community?]