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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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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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