Yelling is everywhere these days. We see examples of this at sporting events, in stores, in the parking lot and some while driving their car. Wikipedia lists several reasons for yelling/screaming: 1 “Fear and Surprise” the result is to call attention to yourself. 2 “Happiness” which conveys a positive emotion to others. 3 “Danger and Pain” which informs others of danger. Reading on it cites the battle cry, death growl and rebel yell as more options to consider. Interestingly that this falls under oral communication to prepare for a battle.
I have to boldly ask if these are the reasons why parents yell at their children? Go ahead, look at the definitions again. Is one of them the reason for your yelling?
Think of a recent time you just “went off” or screamed at your children. Did they react to this form of communication? Some kids will yell back and before long a it becomes a competition of who can shout the loudest. Some kids will simply stop listening because they realize given enough time you will run out of steam and either shut up or you will escalate and become even more abusive. Other kids anticipate your mood and attack first “disrespecting” you.
Yet, in the quietness of the night you wonder how this has gotten out of control when you love them so much. A change is needed.
Here are five suggestions to restore peace in your home.
1. Take five. Take some time for yourself daily. Many times the fear you have inside can be dealt with if you stop and nurture yourself first.
2. Lower expectations. Keep the chores or request simple and age appropriate for your child. Some five year olds can feed the dog consistently while other eight year olds struggle to remember and follow through.
3. Keep work at work. If you know you are stressed about worries this will get passed onto your children. So leave your adult worries at work and focus on the kid worries at home. After you have dealt with their concerns you can remind them to do their homework or chores.
4. Break the habit. If your child have the yelling habit already lower your voice and ask them to lower their voice. For young children, you can say “use your inside voice”. For older kids you can say, “I’m right here”. Keep doing this until you are whispering.
5. Check your altitude. As adults we are typically taller than our children. If you want to communicate with your child get eye level with him. Speak softly while looking into her eyes and have a gentle touch on their shoulder.
If you have been using screaming or yelling as your style of communication do not despair. You can make a change today. Be persistent and consistent and the change will come.
May your home be filled with peace.