As Parents, Are You Guilty of Yelling At Your Kids?
As we know yelling at our children is non productive. Not only does our blood pressure go up but it teaches them the same strategy to deal with anger instead of better resolution strategies, but none of us are perfect right?
So now that we are almost at the end of the summer break in Australia our patience as parents has been well and truly tried and tested with bantering of questions and sibling arguments and to help you get through the rest of the break without ‘losing your temper’ I have put together a few alternative strategies to put in place for the next ‘trying time’:
1. Share How It’s Making You Feel
Stop and think what it is that has really upset you the most and share it with them. Stick to the one major issue otherwise it will be easy to start ‘ranting’ and the impact of trying to get empathy will be lost. Let them know how frustrated you are, how upset it makes you feel. Ask them if they really want to make you feel this way and what would be a better way to resolve the problem so it doesn’t affect you in this way.
If your child is young or needs visuals to help understand how you feel use a set of feeling cards and describe the event that makes you sad, angry or frustrated. It will help them label their own emotions and perhaps help in resolving how they release their own anger by communicating with the cards instead of inappropriate behaviors.
You will be surprised how your children will react if you talk civilly about it and treat them equally in the conversation to help solve the problem.
2. Instead of Yelling – try Whispering
As a kindergarten teacher for many years I found this a very powerful strategy to use when I wanted the classes attention. I would pause and with the use of facial expressions that exhibited I had something important or exciting to say it spread very quickly through the students to be quiet so they could ‘hear’ what I was saying.
The best use for this is if you have a group of children visiting to play that might be getting just a little too noisy or excited. By whispering to them that their expected snack or drink is ready you are resetting the ‘volume’ that’s expected by them without raising your voice for ‘quiet!’
3. Use a Visual Reinforcer
Put in place a visual strategy that allows your children to know they are upsetting you. For many classrooms the traffic light system has been used whereby the green light (green circle) displayed on the board means the noise level is good, but if the yellow begins to be displayed then the children know their behavior has hit unacceptable and they need to take responsibility for their actions that are causing it before the red light is displayed. If the red appears then all activity stops and everyone takes ‘timeout’ in silence for 5mins.
This can be effective at home also as a visual system leading up to time out for inappropriate behavior. It can also be reproduced as a smaller version with colored stickers on small palm cards for when you are out. Be sure to have a reward in place if the green light stays up all day – in the classroom it was 10mins free play at the end of the day, at home it could be a toy or activity that is kept just for as a reward for a day of good behavior.
Being a parent of two and a teacher for the last 12 years I know these strategies have worked for me and I hope you can use them in one way or another in your home or classroom too. Make sure you share any adaptations or other strategies you know for others to use too.