Do you find yourself often yelling at your kids? Do you want to be a calmer mom and tame the yelling? It can be hard to break our habits as parents but when you can stop yelling and find better ways to communicate it can improve your relationship with your kids and lower your stress levels!
I’ve realized something after 20 years of parenting. You learn a lot as you go. My 20-year-old will often look at me after my 10-year-old has done or said something, shake his head, and say “I would never have gotten away with that when I was his age, you would have yelled at me!”
Well, sorry kiddo, but you were my practice kid. I see very often how my parenting style has changed, hopefully for the better. I’ve adapted to each of my children’s personalities, learned to choose my battles, loosened up a lot, and become a more peaceful parent.
Sometimes we must unlearn bad habits we have, things we learned from our own parents, or preconceived notions about how moms are “supposed to” act. We look at the world around us, how our friends parent, what society says is normal and we go with it.
This parenting thing is all just a guessing game where you hope to do your best and hope you’re not screwing your kids up too bad!
One thing I know has made a huge difference in my family, and my relationship with my kids is that I gave up yelling. Now I’m not going to say I don’t ever, ever, lose my shit after I’ve asked for something to be done 65,000 times… I am human. But for the most part, I don’t raise my voice, I’m not the mom you’ll hear screaming at her kids through our house’s windows.
Our family is big on open communication, and since my kids aren’t afraid of being yelled at, they come to me with problems or issues, knowing that it’s safe. When you stop yelling you open lines of communication with your children that lead to a better, deeper, more respectful relationship with your kids.
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You see, yelling doesn’t work. In fact, it causes a whole host of other problems for you and your children and although it might have the immediate result you’re looking for, long term it actually makes things worse.
If you’re a yeller and you’ve come across this blog post in an effort to stop yelling, good for you! You are on the right path, and the desire and intention to change is a huge step. I am in no way trying to lecture, shame or judge. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, and if we understand how something works (or doesn’t) it makes it easier to fix it!
So first let’s look at what yelling does to us, and our kids-
First, when our kids hear our voices raise they go into a defensive response. Just like an adult being screamed at the fight or flight instinct kicks in and their adrenaline gets pumping. This response is natural but also likely to make them less cooperative and more aggressive… so we’re already off to a great start.
This defensive response raises our kid’s stress levels so that they are more likely to act out again… it becomes a vicious circle, of acting out, yelling, raised stress… round and round we go.
Second, it shows our kids that we are completely out of control. As you’re yelling you may think you are taking charge of the situation, making yourself clear, or being heard, but actually you are showing your kids that you can’t even control your own emotions or tone of voice. While yes in the moment it may have the desired effect, in the long run, it backfires, your children have less respect for you because they see you losing your cool and self-control! Respect is a two-way street. We need to speak to our children with respect for them to treat us with respect. It is our responsibility as the parent to be the one to take the first step and create an environment where everyone is spoken to with kindness!
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Third, you are showing your kids how to handle frustration and anger and setting a bad example. Your kids are going to come up against frustration every day. There are going to be people behaving in ways that they don’t like. What do you want their reaction to be? Do you correct them if they are yelling at their siblings? How about if they yell at their teacher or classmates? Kids learn from the example that we set as parents so if we’re yelling when we’re mad or frustrated, guess what coping mechanism our kids will use?
So how do we stop yelling? How do we tame that and become more peaceful with our kids?
First, learn to pause and breathe- Often yelling is a knee-jerk reaction. That glass of milk falls to the floor and we want to scream. Here’s where a moment and a couple deep breaths can make an enormous difference. Don’t just react. Don’t let the yelling out. Take a deep breath, be in control, hold the frustration in and react with love and kindness.
I know this is often easier said than done. Like most self-improvement tasks it is one that takes practice, intention, and a desire to change for the better.
If taking a breath is hard for you, if you find yourself more reactive then you want to be, might I suggest meditation? Seriously, download one of these apps, and give yourself 10 minutes at some point in your day to practice being calm. It will help as you move through your day to be calmer and more mindful.
Another thing to ask yourself is “what am I really upset about?” – often we’re not mad at our kids, we’re not yelling at them, we’re actually already frustrated with something else and it comes out at them. A great way to stop yelling is to figure out what is really bothering you. Are you stressed about money? Are you arguing with your spouse? Is the house a disaster? Do you have some serious PMS? Often our nerves are on edge because of something else and then our kids do something that just pushes us over. It’s hard being a parent, it’s hard juggling all the things and all the hats and sometimes we just have to acknowledge that overwhelmed feeling. We can identify what is really stressing us out and then are able to separate that from our kids and what is going on with them.
Challenge yourself not to yell! – When we want to do something we set a goal right? Want to lose weight? Set a goal, chart a course, make a plan. Want to make more money? Go back to school, ask for a raise, start a side hustle. With anything in life, desire is only half of the equation. If you want to lose weight but keep eating donuts that’s not going to help. So, when you want to stop yelling you have to tackle it with the same kind of plan! Make it a goal, share it with people, share it with your kids and husband. Make yourself accountable. Another great idea is to give yourself a visual reminder. A popular idea is to put 5 hairbands or bracelets on one wrist and each time you lose your cool you move one to the other wrist. The goal is to get through the entire day without moving a hair tie. You can read more about this idea here, it’s really an effective technique for changing your habit!
Lead with love– We love our kids. Our desire to stop yelling and be better parents comes from that love. However, there are moments when we might not like them very much. It is in those moments that we need to let the love be our guide. When you are on the verge of yelling, think, or say out loud, I love you. Look at your child with love, hold it in your mind, and react from a place of love instead of frustration or anger. You’ll start to change the way you look at your child when they’ve done something wrong, or accidentally made a mess. I love you, you are human, it’s ok, that is what they need. Speaking to your child from a place of love will not only make them feel better, but you will feel great too!
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Our kids are only small for a short amount of time. Those years can be chaotic, stressful, and have a huge learning curve. Be kind to yourself, understand that you are still learning how to parent as you go, and you don’t know all the answers. If you are trying to stop yelling that is a step to becoming the mom you want to be, pat yourself on the back for recognizing that something is amiss and wanting to change it!