Yelling at children seems to have become the replacement for effective discipline. Yelling at children can cause guilt in parents, even if you have the characteristics of a good mom. Worse, it can cause hurt and confusion in children.
Parents are more stressed than ever for a variety of reasons. The economy is bad, and many families are operating on reduced incomes. In addition to income-related issues, parents are busier. There are work obligations with some parents working more than one job, and then there are the recreational or education obligations that many parents involve their children with.
All of these stressors can impact day-to-day parenting.
Stressed parents can easily fall into the trap of yelling at their children. Raised voices have become common in American households. Yelling has almost become an accepted form of punishment in this country. Parents can be seen yelling at their children in supermarkets and grocery stores, and other customers walk by without a second glance.
How to Stop Yelling
Parents yell at their children for a variety of reasons. Stress can obviously contribute to this, but the cycle of yelling is hard to break.
Children are smart, and once they get used to being yelled at, they may learn to ignore their parents’ outbursts, which can, in turn, cause parents to yell even more.
Frustration in parenting is a given. There are some simple techniques that parents can use to reduce the daily yelling in their household.
Consistent Discipline is Key
The first of these techniques is consistency. Many parents have heard that consistency is key when it comes to discipline, and this is true across the board.
Children have a desire to know what’s coming next. Parents should choose a discipline technique and stick with it, whether it’s time-out or something else.
Becoming a more deliberate mom (the Becoming a Deliberate Mom: A Reflective Parenting Workbook is so helpful to determine your parenting style) is essential to staying consistent.
Parents should also make sure that each caregiver understands the discipline technique and uses it consistently.
Take a Deep Breath Before Yelling
Yelling can be an expression of anger, so take a deep breath. Count to ten. Do whatever it takes to calm down.
No parent wants their child to be afraid of them, but an adult yelling at a child can be scary and downright confusing.
Respond to a child’s behavior, don’t just react.
Remember, parents cannot control a child’s behavior; they can only control their own response.
Be Clear With Kids About Expectations
One of the best ways that parents can reduce the decibel levels in their homes is to be clear with children about expectations.
One of my favorite parenting books is Parenting With Love and Logic. The main principle is that actions have natural consequences.
Be clear with choices. Offer appropriate choices and possible consequences. If the child makes an inappropriate choice, be prepared to implement the consequence every time.
Take a Break
Day to day life can be stressful. Parents sometimes need to take a break from everything, including the kids. Caregivers who are able to recharge their own batteries with a regular self-care routine are usually able to provide the love and care their children need and desire on a daily basis.
In addition to caregivers taking breaks, kids need breaks too. Between the demands of school, soccer, and ballet, children rarely get any downtime. Parents should take a weekend with their children and just relax. Stay at home and enjoy each other.
Yelling at children is an ineffective means to an end. Parents who raise their voices at their children as a manner of disciplining can teach them that the only way to be heard is to be loud. It can also be detrimental to the self-esteem of both the parent and the child.