The One Sentence You Need to Stop Yelling at Your Kids
The ONE Sentence You Need to Stop Yelling at Your Kids
I looked at myself in the mirror and felt like a total failure for yelling at my child. How was it that I could love someone so much and yet speak to her in that tone?
Was it really her fault that we were late out the door again and I was going to be late for my meeting? What about all the whining? Is she just trying to manipulate me? Do I yell because I feel like some days she is winning? Do I really feel like this is a game and we’re keeping score?
Oh boy, it was time to get serious with myself. I could not believe some of the thoughts I was having.
No, this is not a game. It’s life and her self-esteem and self-worth are on the line. It was from that moment that I decided enough was enough. I was no longer going to hurt my child’s spirit by yelling at her.
Now, I wish I could say it was that easy. That all I needed to do was makeup my mind and poof (like magic) I could change. But, sadly it’s not that easy – although the first step of realization is one of the hardest. In order to help myself from going to that place of anger and yelling I started learning about what yelling does to a child, ways to calm my anger, child development stages, and what else, besides yelling, works.
How Does Yelling Affect a Child?
Yelling may quiet a child at the moment, but it does not make your message sink in. After reflecting on what I feel like when I am yelled at, I understood this concept more.
When someone yells at me, it puts me on the defensive and pushes me away. When I yell at my daughter, I push her away too. Research shows that yelling makes children more physically and verbally aggressive. These are not traits I want my daughter to exhibit.
I want her to be loving, kind, and respectful (like these 10 children’s books I recently recommended) which means I need to model these behaviors.
Remember – monkey see, monkey do.
What Does Yelling Say About Me?
Yelling shows that I am no longer in control of my emotions. I have stopped thinking logically and am letting external factors dictate how I behave. If I expect my child to act better, then I need to act better.
When I yell at my child, I am not showing her unconditional love. Instead I am scaring her into obedience. This is not the kind of mother I want to be.
It’s been shown that when a child feels safe, unconditionally loved, and has a strong emotional connection to their parents they’ll be more receptive to listening before a conflict escalates into an angry screaming match.
I want to lay the foundation for good communication before we get to the dreaded teenage years and that starts now.
Are Children Inherently Manipulative?
Yes children are resourceful, but my daughter is not Cersei Lannister. She’s not beating me in an intense poker match. Instead she is trying to get what she wants as easily as possible.
Once I remembered that what she wants and what is best for her are not always the same I was able to present the options with more clarity and decisiveness.
Children are able to sense when you mean what you say. They can also tell if you are going to stand your ground or go back on your request if they push back.
So How Do You Stop Yelling at Your Kids?
This took some effort and more research to find the right strategies for me. Some experts say to give yourself a timeout – essentially a cooling off period – but this does not work with my daughter as separating from her causes her to feel abandoned and act out even more.
Another tip is to be consistent. And yes, this is helpful, but it is not a quick fix. Children will continue to act out and you need to keep your calm through a very tough process.
I found routines to be helpful with weekday morning stress and this morning routine checklist was key.
You also want to make sure you don’t take your child’s behavior personally. This is one that I needed to work on most, which brings me to the promise of this article.
The ONE Sentence that Can Help You Stop Yelling at Your Child
The one sentence that helped me stop yelling at my daughter had me look inward before responding to whatever it was she was doing or did to make me angry.
By shining light on the fact that my ego was getting in the way and I was taking things personally, I was able to show more compassion and respond to the situation with a clearer head. So what is this magical question? The next time you feel yourself getting angry, repeat this statement…
“I am withholding forgiveness from ______ because he/she __________.”
For instance, “I am withholding forgiveness from my child because he was just trying to use his curiosity and problem solving skills to open the bag of crackers and accidentally spilled them all over the backseat of the car.”
This sentence will help you see past yourself and the mess you have to clean up and look at it through your child’s eyes. It becomes more of an “oops” and less of an “OMG, what have you done!” Which would you want someone to think of the next time you make a mistake?
I know I’d rather be met with the oops instead of an exasperated sigh that made me feel like a failure.
In the end it was up to me to change my perspective and behavior if I ever wanted to learn how stop yelling at my child. Yes, my child can be difficult. Yes, she can be manipulative (as all children can be). But, she is not trying to make my life difficult. She is just trying to make hers easier. And I realised we are all trying to do that.
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Cheers and all the best! You’ve got this Mama!