3 ways I stopped yelling? I just put a question mark to this title because truth be known I am not saying I have completely stopped…..but definitely, absolutely I have reduced the frequency and severity. It will still be there when I need it, to startle them so they don’t step out on to a road, jump off the kitchen table or throw a cricket ball near the glass doorways. But it is no longer the ‘go to’ to response to bickering, whining or lack of cooperation.
We all know the feeling. We have been pushed to the limit and the child won’t listen, and we are in a hurry, and we tried to do it nicely and they wont stop arguing and now something is broken or there’s blood….…so we yell. The kids look up at you with a little mixture or surprise and fear (or if you do it all the time they may not even look up!) We yell and we regret it. We want to take it back because this isn’t how we want to teach our kids to listen. We know it doesn’t work. It may sometimes be a quick fix, but it doesn’t hold much weight long term.
Here are 3 things I have worked at over the years, that help me, for the most part, be less of the ‘yelling, screamy parent’ and more of the ‘calm intuitive fun mum’!
1) I got up close
I started to realise that a lot of my raised voice was happening because I was in another room, I was working on the computer, stirring the cheese sauce or hanging out washing (sorry neighbours) and I’d hear some commotion in the background or a fight start brewing. I started to yell to try and be heard and calm the ensuing storm. Of course no one listens then, and really they probably can’t over the commotion of TV’s, stereos, “Stop it”, “no you Stop It”s, basketball throwing etc. It’s usually a quick fix but of course not very effective. What takes time and takes more effort I have learned, also seems to come with the long term benefits. So what do I do now? I get up. I change rooms. I get within earshot. I get close. Its painful and annoying sometimes to be interrupted. But going to the source of the commotion to find out what is going on, is proving far more beneficial. It also works if I want something done. Yelling at them to make their bed as Im getting out of the shower is rather futile. Sometimes it all comes back to the eye contact! This mum explains it much better here.
2) I changed my tone
When I am struggling to get the 3 year old changed, or he wants to do 2 races up the hallway way before he gets out of his pyjamas, I sometimes have to play along. Even if I’m in a hurry. If he feels my stress it ends up taking much longer. So I ask him if he wants to have 3 races first, or I tickle him, or I give him some choices. Maybe we should be raising kids that just do as they are told, “just because”…… but sometimes I know that distraction, a happy and playful tone will mean they are far more willing to cooperate. Kids seem to know the ‘I really need you to get the shoes on quickly today because mum is in a hurry and if you make it hard I am going to get stressed and yell and you are going to yell back at me and its all going to go pear shaped and I’ll walk out the door sweating and cursing’ and they really don’t mean to cause this commotion, it’s just that our tone can often make them all antsy. So instead I don’t let on that I am in a major hurry, I offer some fun, some choices and some tickles and there is usually a much greater success and stress rate.
3) I got some perspective
Asking myself what are they trying to get across to me helps immensely, especially with the little ones. Thinking whether they are tired, hungry, how long I’ve been dragging them around the shops, how much they understand of the ‘mummy has an important phone call and I needed you to be quiet’ that they really understand at 3 years of age. So now I word things differently, I give them warning, I distract better, I look at the bigger picture of their day, their place in this moment and their understanding of a situation at hand. It allows me to take a breath. To reassess. It works much better for both of us.
So there are three of the things that have worked for me in the past….. get up close, change your tone and understand some perspective.
Have a go and let me know how it fares. Or do you have any other strategies you use?
This Post Has 17 Comments
Great post, I hadn’t thought about yelling from another room, but I do it all the time. It seems that there is always something more pressing than getting up and speaking to the children, or trying to understand what is going on before yelling. Some great tips here, time for me to rethink what I am doing.
Thanks Nicole, I think even just being a little more aware can help us all.
Great Read. I catch myself sometimes and think “God, who was that woman!?” Totally disgusted with myself. I should feel pride though that I yell less that we did in the home I grew up in. Sometimes I’ve reassessed why we were in that situation and the answer was so glaringly obvious that I just felt like the silliest mum ever, like when I see a tooth coming in, or my son’s been up well past nap time ….
Yes Jess, sometimes when we take a moment to have a look at the situation it helps to gain some perspective.
Great post martine. I admit the other room thing has been a big one here lately. Laziness on my part sometimes as I do not want to leave what i am doing to go to them, yet when they yell to me I remind them I can’t hear them ugh. Will keep working on this. Xx
I imagine this is an ongoing battle for us all Deb…and often can depend on our mood, how tired we are etc. But being aware is the first big step 🙂
I really like this post Martine – the other room thing makes a lot of sense and because even calling out gets misconstrued as yelling around her, and then she yells at me, and I yell back….and pear shaped. Getting up close works really well with my 4 year old and actively engaging my 11 year old seems to be working OK too. I agree on offering choices too. Thanks again.
Thanks Kathy, yes it is good for all ages to get up close. It also lets them know that we are listening to them too.
I’ve actually been making a conscious effort to do this, but mainly because I’ve noticed my oldest yelling at her brothers for no really great reason. Whoops! Em – also visiting as part of #teamIBOT x (ps. please PM or email me your address and I’ll send out that magazine. xx)
Yes that was probably a catalyst for me too Em! Will PM you x
I find it so useful to be step back and take a breath when it comes to my 2 year old, and as you say, go with the flow and see it from their perspective.
It is so easy to yell, though you wouldn’t do it to anyone else under any circumstances..
Yes thats true isn’t is Dani….the ones that need our understanding most sometimes get it the least.
I’ve been cutting back on yelling too. I realised that half the time, it doesn’t really do anything. Now when I do yell, they take it as actually serious.
I second the fact that you need to be present. Yelling from one end of the house to the other doesn’t work, and it’s not nice. I don’t like it when they yell out to me, so I shouldn’t do it to them.
Yes, I switch tone a lot. When I feel the urge to raise my voice I take a deep breath and switch to a lighter, happier tone, even if I am gritting my teeth. It gets a better response from the kids and the entire mood changes for the better.
It is so brilliant that you have been able to change your perspective to play even when you are running late. I think this is the biggest step that I need to change. We are always running late and it is so stressful as no one cares and no one is helpful. My children don’t even want to go wherever it is that we are late too. It is all silliness.
I find the hardest part is the perspective. Weighing up choices is most difficult when you are stressed out by crazy kids.
I needed to read this today. Thank you for giving me three ways to avoid yelling. It’s easy to do but doesn’t make for a happy home or kids that will do as you say.