Are you the type of parent who finds yourself yelling at your kids way too often?
Do you have difficulty communicating with your child/children?
Well, you’re not alone.
There are probably many, many parents like you out there. The thing is, yelling at your kids doesn’t really work as a discipline method.
So what does then? Before we get to that, let’s discuss communication.
Communication is to discipline and parenting what location is to real estate… EVERYTHING! It is the act of sharing your thoughts and feelings with another person.
When communicating with your child, you are sharing your thoughts and feelings regarding their attitudes, actions and response to you (or the lack thereof).
How we communicate
As parents, most of us may use several forms of communication:
- The ‘look’: This usually works best on children over the age of 5
- Coercion and bribery: “If you will do this for me, I will do that for you”
- Harsh lectures and nagging
- Firm but gentle words of instruction
- Discipline and consequences for misbehaviour
However, not all these forms are effective, especially yelling at your kids.
Take another look at each of these forms of communication, so you can easily separate the effective from the ineffective. | Image source: iStock
Effective and ineffective forms of communication
The ‘look,’ firm but gentle words of instruction, and discipline paired with consequences are all positive and productive forms of communicating with your children.
All of them have the power to hold misbehaviour in check and each of these methods retains your position as the lead “negotiator,” if you will.
On the other hand, coercion and bribery, lectures, nagging and yelling at your kids bring nothing positive to the table.
Coercion and bribery send the message that your love is conditional, that you can be bought at a price and that there should always be ‘something in it’ for your child.
Meanwhile, lectures and nagging are simply air-fillers. They accomplish nothing but the harbouring of resentment and the dread of hearing your voice… which brings us to yelling.
Yelling– the hurtful norm
Yelling at your kids is ineffective and does more harm than good. | Image source: iStock
Yelling is one of the most often used forms of communication, in spite of the fact that it is the most ineffective. Yelling at your kids does nothing except communicate:
- A lack of control (both of the situation and of ourselves)
- That we think being loud and aggressive wins
- That children are people to be lorded over and controlled, rather than loved and nurtured
Besides being a poor form of communication, yelling is ineffective because it:
- Gives temporary ‘results’ — you may scare your child into submission by yelling but afterwards, all that remains is resentment
- Is a poor example of the person you want your child to be
- Is graceless or merciless. Yelling belittles and says there is no excuse or room for error
Encourage your children, and yourself, to write out what you are feeling rather than spouting off something you don’t really mean.
The alternatives to yelling at your kids
The alternatives to yelling involve, of course, being quiet or speaking softly and gently. Related to discipline and communication though, there’s more to it than just speaking softly.
One alternative to yelling is to take a “timeout” — to calm yourself and to think the situation through before making statements and passing judgments that are inaccurate and unfair.
Some families even have a set disciplinary action for anyone raising their voice in anger. Such actions might include putting money in the family’s vacation savings jar, doing another person’s chores for the day or losing a privilege for a day.
Encourage an atmosphere of open, gentle communication in your home and family. | Image source: iStock
Another alternative to yelling is speaking gently but firmly with your child about what needs to be addressed. If you are tempted to yell, take a few deep breaths first or count to 10 slowly in your head, before you open your mouth.
Sometimes, it even helps to step away from the situation at hand — to go to a different room or place. Just make sure that your child is safe wherever you leave him or her.
Needless to say, communication is an important part of parenting. Yelling at your kids, however, is not — as we say in our house, “use your inside voice or lose your option to speak.”
Do you think yelling at your kids is ineffective too? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment!