How to Stop Yelling at Our Children

Are you a parent who frequently resorts to a raised voice to get your children’s attention? Do you believe they won’t hear you if you don’t yell? Are you thinking the only way to get them to listen is to yell? Do you think yelling is the best way to get compliance? What other effects to do you think yelling is having on your children? Would you like to consider some alternatives? I was recently asked the following three questions, and thought I’d post them to my blog for  you to see:

Why should we yell less at our kids? 

Yelling at our kids does irreparable damage to our children’s self-esteem, can lead to self-sabotaging behavior later in their lives and can drive a wedge between you and them that will prevent them from coming to you when they really need you. They won’t trust you not to  hurt them.

How can we stop yelling? 

Any time we are attempting to change a habitual behavior, I recommend engaging in Marcus Gentry‘s seven-step process for ultimate success.

  1. Reflect on what you’ve been doing and the results it’s reaping.
  2. Reprioritize what’s important in terms of immediate compliance and obedience versus long-term well-adjusted children. Decide what’s most important and valuable.
  3. Refocus by getting very clear about what you want to do instead of yelling, e.g. talk with the child about what he or she is trying to get by the behavior you are attempting to correct and then teach a better way to get it without breaking rules and hurting other people, including themselves
  4. Redirect your energy toward the new behavior you are desiring to reinforce
  5. Review your efforts periodically and repeag what’s working and eliminate what isn’t
  6. Respect the process by not expecting perfection in either you or your child. Know it takes time, commitment and consciousness to change a habit. Veering off your path just means making a correction, not giving up.
  7. Reward and celebrate gradual accomplishments along the way.

What are better alternatives to yelling?

The Latin root of punishment is to inflict pain, while the root of discipline is to teach. Allow that our children do not misbehave out of just “being bad” or frustrating us, but they do it because they are attempting to get something they want . . . something important to them. Having a conversation about what it is they want and then helping them be successful in a responsible way is a far greater alternative to yelling.

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