RULE OF PARENTING #19: Losing Your Head: 5 Steps to Stop Yelling and Start Talking to Your Child

Stop Yelling and Start Talking

Rules Of Parenting - # - YellingYelling, yelling and more yelling seems to be the initial instinct of most parents who are faced with a difficult-to-handle child. But, most parents will admit that yelling never solves any problems. In fact, it gets things messier than they really should be. As a loving parent, here are 5 things you can do to stop yelling and start talking to your child:

1. Listen First

Parents often resort to yelling when they feel that they are not being listened to. Children resort to defiance when they too feel that they are not being listened to. If you expect your child to listen to you, you too must listen to him. Be the bigger person here and listen to what your child is telling you, before you start howling at him. When you notice your child whining, look him in the eye and ask him to tell you why he is whining instead of shouting at him to stop whining. Listen actively and calmly engage in the conversation with statements such as “I see”, “Ahhh.”

2. Seek To Understand

Sometimes, you have to put yourself in your child’s shoes to understand why he is acting the way he is. For example, 16-year-old Maya suddenly becomes truant and skips school. Her mother, Maggie, gets wind of her daughter’s behaviour and she, like any parent, is seething with anger. She starts to yell at Maya about her bad behaviour and demands that either she goes to school or she finds another place to call home. Maya yells back and uses a couple of foul words against her mother. The bitter acrimony between mother and daughter goes on for a two weeks with no solution. If Maggie had taken the time to understand Maya’s sudden behaviour she would have perhaps found out that, a group of girls in school were physically and emotionally bullying her daughter. Missing school was Maya’s only escape. It is essential to take the time to understand your child’s defiant behaviour; this way you, will know the best course of action to take instead of shouting at your child.

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3. Talk About Your Problem

Your child may be totally unaware that something she does infuriates you. But, she will continue her behaviour until you explain to her that what she is doing angers you. For example, Medina cannot stand noise, especially when she is reading in her study. Her 17 year old son James likes to bring his friends over; they make a lot of noise laughing, playing music and doing all the crazy stuff teenagers do. Medina, irritated by the noise, storms into James’ room and starting yelling at him about the noise and his unpleasant friends. James starts to yell back and the Saturday afternoon ends badly. Had Medina explained to James that she could not concentrate with too much noise in the background, James might have urged his friends to lower the noise or they would have gone to hang out somewhere else. It would be a pleasant Saturday for both mom and son.

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4. Is it a biggie?

Choose your battles right. It is easy for parents to make a big deal out of something that should not be a big deal. Just because your 6 year old wants the red scarf and not the white one should not be cause for a yelling match. Just let him have the red scarf and get along with the day. Ask yourself if what your child is doing is something that you can live with or if it is something that you need to talk about. If you can live with it, do not exacerbate the situation by pestering him about it. Perhaps a couple of dolls left on the couch are not a big deal but jumping on the couch with muddy boots is a big deal and needs to be addressed calmly.

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5. Direct Your Anger Elsewhere

Jog. Breath. Count to Ten. Do something that will help you diffuse your anger. It is fine to be angry but what matters is how you handle anger — yelling at your children is not the best way to handle it. If possible, get away from the anger-inducing situation and then come back later to address the issue when you levelheaded.

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