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How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

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    I love a line I read in a book once. It went something like this: “If it isn’t life threatening, if the house is not ablaze, if it is not an emergency, or if the child you are yelling to is not half a mile away, then yelling is the wrong choice in parenting.”

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    Yelling negatively and directly affects the way children see themselves and how they feel about their life and their place in this world. Yelling is also bad for the parents’ self-esteem since it is usually a behaviour that one regrets or is ashamed of.

    It is important to realize that when a parent yells they are not editing what they say the same way they would if they were speaking in a calmer moment of discussion or conversation.

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    The first step one must take to stop yelling is to understand what triggers the yelling. Yes, one’s child is probably doing something naughty, however, it is important to think about what makes one choose to yell instead of speaking matter-of-factly.

    Ninety percent of the time, the reason people yell is that they were yelled at as children. Even though they may have hated being yelled at it is all they know and simply fall into that same pattern during times of stress with their own children.

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    The second step is to realize what response is most likely to occur after one finishes yelling. Because yelling makes a child feel badly about themselves they will often lash back in order to protect themselves, and then become revengeful. They may, out of fear and sadness, stop the behaviour for a short period of time, however the anger and humiliation they felt will build up and soon enough they will lash out. A good example here is when parents think yelling works when their children are small, but are shocked when they experience severe disobedience when their children get a little older.

    So, if one knows that they are yelling simply because it is what they have learned and they understand that the result of yelling never achieves the desired result, what is the alternative? What is the solution?

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    Instead of yelling one must train oneself to take a deep breath and then state the behaviour they want from their child in a matter-of-fact, assertive tone of voice.

    If one’s child is begging them to watch TV when it is homework time, one should simply say, “You need to stop whining and go do your homework.” If the begging continues say, “You can stop begging right now or you can go to time out. What is your choice?” If the child is used to yelling, they will probably continue, so the parent should take the child by the hand and walk him/her to a predetermined time out spot. The amount of time the child should spend there is one minute per year of age. After the time is up one should go back and state what they expect from their child again – to begin their homework.

    With this these new tools, one should feel more confident that they have the knowledge now to change from what they have learned from their own parents to what they now know is the better, more effective way to handle discipline.

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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