What do the neighbors think?
If they only knew the begging, pleading, and negotiating that goes on in your home. Maybe they’d understand why yelling is the ONLY way your kids do what you ask.
You’ve tried being the “nice mom” who doesn’t yell, and no matter how hard you tried, it never worked.
The only way to get your kids’ attention is by yelling at the top of your lungs.
They know you mean business. They know you’re in charge.
The Unintended Message
We don’t want to yell. And yet, when our kids don’t do what we ask, we feel pressured, cornered, uncertain.
So, we convince ourselves that yelling sends the message: “I’m the boss. I’m in charge.” And our kids will magically comply.
Unfortunately, by the time you start yelling, the messages you send sound more like:
“My emotions are too big right now!” or “Your big feelings are too much for me to handle” or “I am feeling powerless and have no idea what to do right now!”
“I’m out of control.”
Not exactly the result you were hoping for.
I don’t say this to give you a guilt trip or to send a wave of shame washing over you. Really!
The reason I say this is because I want you to feel cool, confident, and collected for your kids.
I thought so.
So how do we break this pattern?
First, acknowledge that yelling doesn’t equal power.
Let’s think about power.
When you get into a yelling match with your kids, do you feel powerful?
Maybe you try to “force” a powerful presence. Demanding that your child follows your orders, using harsh punishments if necessary. Searching desperately for the perfect words to convince your child that your position is correct. (And feeling more frustrated when they don’t agree!)
No one likes to feel powerless.
This is a really difficult place to be, it’s no wonder things escalate to yelling!
Next, admit that yelling means you are out of control.
So, there you are feeling powerless. And, to make matters worse, emotions are on the rise.
At some point, your brain switches from logical thinking to reacting emotionally. Maybe you feel threatened, maybe you start panicking – worried that things will never improve, or feel a horrible sense of shame because you are back to a place you swore you’d never return.
Emotional brains are not thinking logically. Which means, in the heat of the moment you’re not thinking clearly.
It’s ok to admit that you’re out of control…because you are!
Finally, make a non-yelling choice.
This might be the most difficult of the steps because parenting is never a precise, black-and-white situation.
Let’s be clear, you don’t have to know exactly how to handle every situation that comes your way. But, you do need to know that your kids are relying on you to be the bigger, more confident, adult. And, it needs to happen without yelling.
Take a deep breath.
This is serious stuff, but it definitely doesn’t need to happen overnight. In fact, it won’t, so let’s get that expectation out of the way right now.
If yelling has been your go-to response for a while now, it’s going to take time to change this habit. And that is ok. The goal is not perfection. The goal is to move forward in a positive direction.
3 Ways to Make A Calm, Confident Decision:
- Take a deep breath: I know it sounds so cliche, but you need to get your own emotions in check before you can move forward confidently. So, maybe you say to yourself, “I’m out of control,” which is your cue to take three deep breaths. Maybe you close your eyes, observe your heart rate and take time to slow your breathing. Or, maybe you use another option, like this one.
- Survey the situation: Tune into what your child needs at this moment. Behavior has a purpose, even though it’s not always clear at first. Are they looking to connect with you? Do they need to be heard? Are they hungry, thirsty or tired? Do they need you to back off and give them some space or time to think? Or, are they just expressing a big feeling over a decision that they cannot control?
- Explore your options: Now that you have taken care of yourself, and you have a guess about what’s going on for your child, you can decide how best to move forward. Your first instinct may be to punish your kids for the situation that led to the yelling. Instead, roll your shoulders back, stand up straight, find a confident tone of voice, and make a decision to provide the direction your children need. Here are some suggestions:
- Decide to have a “do-over”
- Increase connection
- Be silly, sing songs, or use silly voices
- Improve your listening
- Be quiet
- Respond with empathy
- Plan ahead for next time
- Brainstorm solutions together
- Change the environment
- Change the way you communicate
- Wrestle or roughhouse
- Set limits with kindness and firmness
- Share a snack or get a drink of water
Changing the Message
Listen, you don’t have to handle every situation like a saint. You’re imperfect – and your kids are imperfect. But when you decide to step up and send a different message, your kids will feel more secure (which may mean fewer arguments!)
So, if yelling used to send the message, “I’m out of control,” what message do you want your new parenting style to send?
“I’ve got this.”
“Your big feelings are not too big for me.”
“I can handle my big feelings so you don’t have to.”
“I love you and we’re going to get through this.”
Those are the messages of a strong, confident caregiver. No yelling required.
Once you decide to stop yelling, you may have no idea how to get your kids out the door in the morning or manage a sibling argument. In other words, even with the suggestions above, you’re not feeling very confident. At all.
Putting a new communication style or parenting strategy in place is not easy. Which is why I offer online parent coaching. This unique, one-on-one service gives you the opportunity to get personalized strategies and accountability as you move forward. Get more information about coaching here.
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