Picture yourself being yelled by someone, on whom you rely for everything. Now, imagine that person to be bigger than you by multiple times. Would not it be so hard on you? Your little one would undergo just the same, when you yell at them. Realize that as a parent the most important thing is to manage your own emotion. With the emerging independence and curiosity of babies at around 15 months, it becomes harder to manage them. This is when you lose your temper and start yelling at your little ones. When this happens very frequently, it's time you think about yelling. Your child needs your unconditional love, support and guidance for their emotional and behavioral development. With increased frequency of you yelling at them, they will no longer feel safe and secure with you. I have categorized this article into the following 5 segments.
- Shouting at children
- The effects of yelling at children
- How to keep yourself from yelling at kids
- What to do after you yell at your child
- How to get your child listen without yelling
Research claims that yelling has the same detrimental effects as hitting or spanking a kid. When you yell at your child, they get terrified and do not receive the message you are trying to communicate. They hear only the noise and not the message that is being conveyed. When you yell, you are indirectly teaching your child that you aren’t serious unless you yell at them.
- Research proves that yelling makes children aggressive in nature. Children might yell or scream to convey their message. They would become disrespectful and even talk back or shout at you. They would exhibit aggressive behavior patterns like biting, hitting and pushing.
- Since yelling is an expression of anger, you might scare your child and make them feel less secured. It would leave the child confused and lead to developmental and behavioral problems. Kids who are constantly being yelled at become timid. A timid kid can have difficulties in developing friendship and socializing. It will also effect their ability in dealing with conflicts and other difficult situations in the later stages of life.
- It affects their well-being and hampers their spirit. Constant yelling hurts a child’s self image and negatively impacts their self-esteem. Since self-confidence depends on how you value and respect yourself, constant yelling will diminish their self-confidence.
It is unrealistic for a parent to never shout, but you should strive to reduce the frequency. Yelling can be addictive for parents, as you use it as an excuse to vent out your frustration or stress. These are some of the ways that can help you stop yourself from yelling at your kids.
- The moment you get to the point of yelling, close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath and consider calmly - what you are going to say. Practice calming thoughts such as “If i yell I will drain out of energy”.
- The main trigger to yelling is exhaustion. Find ways to reduce stress and find some time for yourself - give up some of your work for the day, exercise, have a cup of coffee, imagine a pleasant scene, let the tears come by if you need to - but not when your little one can see you. Click here to know about how to bid farewell to mommy meltdowns.
- Most of us lose our cool managing temper tantrums. Majority of the toddler tantrums occur when they are hungry or sleepy. Try to avoid these by thinking ahead and by establishing routines, structures and priorities.
- No matter how hard you try, you will fail in managing your emotions. That's really okay and absolutely normal - as long as we realize something is going wrong and we are ready to act on it. After an outbreak, apologize to your little one by explaining that it frustrates when they don’t listen to you.
Parenting being the most challenging role, don’t beat yourself too much if you end up yelling. Own it up and apologize - with a calm and compassionate voice. When you apologize talk to them about the behavior that made you ‘yell’ at them. Show them that you empathize with them and understand their feelings that they were hurt or scared. Talk to your child about why ‘shouting’ is wrong and not the right way of communicating his emotion. Remember you are your child's role model. So, when you apologize you are teaching your kids to do the same - take responsibility for their own mistakes, apologize and to learn from their mistake.
But if you find yourself yelling frequently and if it is getting more intense, then you should find ways to control and manage it. If you seem to get angry over minor issues and if the pattern repeats you should seek the help of a therapist.
Since yelling is scary, if you yell at your kids, their mind will stop processing the information. If you raise your voice, your child cannot understand ‘why’ his behavior is inappropriate. Hence, yelling is not a good idea for getting desirable behavior from kids. Different strategies work for different situations, but, the key is to be consistent, show respect and be calm. Above all, you are his role model and he will handle the same way as you handle your anger or frustration.
- Teach natural consequences - If your child doesn’t listen avoid repeating and nagging over and over again. It is much meaningful for a child to see what the natural consequence are if he doesn’t listen. It is always best to show that you mean what you say. For instance, if your child throws his building blocks around the house and doesn’t pick it up tell them “If you don’t put your toys in the basket you won’t be able to play with it after dinner”. Follow through consistently and teach the natural consequences.
- Provide positive reinforcement - Approval and appreciation is very important. Praise and encourage them when they do the right thing. Celebrate them being good and award appropriate behaviors. This will help them understand what good behavior is.
- Ignore certain behaviors - Ignore the problematic behaviors as long as that doesn’t pose a threat to anyone. For example, if your child interrupts you when you talk on the phone - ignore it. If you pay heed to it once, he will do it repeatedly and you might end up screaming at him.
- Whisper - Yelling shuts down a kid and the communication stops right there. If your child throws a tantrum, ‘whisper’ and don’t shout. It is completely different from what you do and they will listen to what you are trying to say. Since kids are curious, they will settle down and get quieter to hear. And, if you refrain from shouting even you can listen to your kids and understand what they are trying to communicate.
Yelling at kids doesn’t help your child focus on what you want them to do. Parents should strive to turn a meltdown into a understanding moment by involving their kids to understand the situation. Try to have a calm environment in your home where you and your kids can communicate to each other with respect. Always acknowledge you little one’s feelings and emotions without blaming or judging. “The first three years of our life establishes the blueprint for all of our future relationships.”
“Yelling grows children’s defenses, while clever language grows their co-operation” - Andrea Nair. Happy parenting!