Parenting is definitely overwhelming. Although it is generally happy and fulfilling, it can also be toxic and exhausting at times. When things are not going well such as when our kids fail to listen to us or when they behave in a nasty way, we can have the tendency to yell at them. Is it normal? Or is it even acceptable?
Most moms and dads regret it when they suddenly and unintentionally shout at their children. But no matter how much they want to stop themselves from doing such, they admit that yelling seems to be a natural response.
I understand this sentiment. There are just times when our kids could easily bring out the unexpected beasts in our supposedly soft and loving hearts. But as much as possible, we don’t want this to happen. We want to continually be our children’s protector, nurturer, and safe refuge.
Not shouting at our kids is essential in making them grow mentally healthy and emotionally secure. Studies even point to the ineffectiveness of shouting in disciplining our children. When we yell at them, we do not address the main cause of misbehavior since they won’t usually be receptive to explanations during moments of distress.
To help you prevent from shouting at your children, I have compiled six of the best ways that you can use to make sure that you enforce positive discipline:
1. Identify what triggers your shouting.
In order to address the problem which is yelling, then we also need to know the cause of your response. Look back at the times that you have yelled at your children. Was it because of certain misconduct? Then go the extra mile in order to prevent such misbehavior. If your children usually mess up during meal times, why don’t you start teaching them table manners according to their age? If you have a toddler, then you could set up paper floor mats that could catch the dirt as she feeds. Do whatever it takes to prevent your triggers from arising.
2. Make your commands doable and easily understandable.
Your children surely have not fully matured yet, right? Then you must work on the instructions that you give them. If you want them to clean the living room, then be specific with your orders and give them one at a time. Ask them to pick up the scattered toys first, then only after that shall you order them to put the toys in the ottoman or do other things related to it. Do not bombard them with a lot of orders because they will surely fail you at some point in time and that could just cause your emotions to rise again.
3. Offer warning signs to generate teamwork.
Be able to communicate to your children that you might be at the brink of a disastrous response and that you don’t want to reach that point. It would be nice if you could directly tell them that you are already losing patience and that you may now be triggered to shout. Such warning signs, when communicated peacefully, can generate teamwork because children would most likely rather prevent you from losing your cool than do otherwise.
4. Set realistic standards.
Your kid is not an adult; thus, you cannot expect her to be behaving like an ultra-disciplined adult who has been trained to follow all orders without room for mistakes. If you have a toddler, then don’t expect her to be eating mess-free. If you have an infant who keeps on crying at night, then don’t get mad at her for keeping you awake. After all, our expectations usually set the foundations for our behavioral responses.
5. Reflect on your day and your life.
Have you had a bad day? Has it been months since you last had your own time for yourself at the salon or a coffee shop? Have you been feeling anxious because of career disappointments? It is important to examine yourself most especially when you have been delivering not-so-acceptable behavior towards the people around you. Be able to know how to address your own frustrations so that you can also live peacefully with your children.
6. Practice. Practice. Practice.
Yes, it can be hard. Even when you become intentional in changing yourself, your child, and the circumstances, you could still suddenly yell at your child when certain situations happen. If ever you fail, do not ever think that it is the end of your journey to positive discipline. It could take time and a great deal of effort. Keep on practicing. But whenever you fail, do not forget to make a personal apology to your child about what you have done. Let her know that you are capable of asking forgiveness and that you need her help to remove the yelling tendencies.
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