It’s the end of the day, you’re beyond tired and your little one is being quiet. You know what that means. She has done something horribly, horribly wrong. You tiptoe down the hallway towards her playroom, hoping that you at least catch her in the act to prevent a protracted round of “I didn’t do it.” When you get to the playroom door, you see her furiously finishing her latest crayon masterpiece on the wall that you just recently re-painted to cover up her last placed artistic effort.
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If you’re like most, your rising temper manifests itself in anger-fueled shouts that you know you’ll later regret. Almost everyone agrees that yelling at your children is a less than ideal correction tactic; however, in the heat of the moment yelling can come so easily – even to the best-intentioned parent.
If you’re suffering from yeller’s guilt and are truly committed to keeping a level head and putting an end to the yelling forever, consider some of these simple techniques.
1. Model Good Behavior
How would you feel if your child yelled at you? Probably pretty angry. Although you are a parent and it’s your right to yell, gosh darn it, it’s not really a right you should exercise. Telling your kids to do as you say, not as you do is never a great approach.
If you feel yourself getting heated, remind yourself that you want to be a good role model and force yourself to stay cool and collected. If your child raises their voice, remind them that you aren’t yelling at them and you would appreciate if they didn’t yell at you either as it’s not an appropriate thing to do.
2. Take A Cool Down
Most parents yell not because they think that yelling is going to change their kids’ behaviors, but because they are furious and that is the natural thing to do when you are furious. If you start to see red and worry that a yell is about to escape your cherry lips, step away from the situation.
Ask your child to have time out and go to their room while you go to the kitchen. Have a drink of water or some coffee and give yourself five to 10 minutes to cool down. After you’ve regained your level head, re-approach the situation, ready to discuss civilly.
3. Give Your Child A Heads Up
If you absolutely can’t contain your anger, give your adorable transgressor a warning. Tell them, “Mommy is very unhappy with what you just did and she is going to yell. You may go in the other room.”
While this may seem like admitting defeat and letting your little guy off the hook too easily, it is really anything but. What you really do when you practice this technique is teach your child that you should connect with your feelings and own them. You are also showing them a model of responsible anger management that they can later mimic when they get upset.
4. Speak To Your Child In Close Proximity
Yelling to your child who’s playing down the block or upstairs isn’t really ideal. When you yell at your child from a distance you give them the perfect excuse to ignore you. They can easily play the, “what Mom? Oh, sorry! I didn’t hear you,” card. Take this trick out of their bag by coming up to your child before you speak to them and speaking in a level and calm voice.
This is also beneficial as it saves your yelling voice for situations of true anger or emergency. If your child never hears you yell, they will likely listen up when you yell a warning at them to watch out for a danger that you see and they don’t.
5. Pretend Others Are Listening
If anger control has always been a particular challenge for you, you may benefit from pretending that there is an audience when you’re speaking to your child while you’re angry. Before you speak, think about how you would speak if you were in a public place or around people who might judge your reaction.
By engaging in this simple activity you force yourself to step outside of your body and consider how your verbal display of upset would be perceived. This is highly beneficial as you don’t want the audience you do have – your child – to take your reaction to mean that you don’t love and care for them.