Not long ago, I wrote about how I really hated myself when I shouted at my daughter, and how I wanted to make a fresh start and parent without yelling. I realised that yelling can seem incredibly aggressive and sometimes frightening to children…it can even damage their brains… yet somehow it’s become socially acceptable but I’m not sure how acceptable it really is to me. Although I do it, I instantly hate myself for doing it, and as result desperately want to learn to parent without yelling.
A few weeks on, just having that seed in my head…that intention….has REALLY helped. But I am only human, I know I need some strategies to support myself in those stressful times when all I want to do is yell me head off in pure frustration – usually because I have asked my daughter to get dressed for the umpteenth time that morning because we have to get to school on time.
So when the lovely folk at Parenting Power contacted me saying they wanted to support me on my mission to be able to parent without yelling, I was so pleased and relieved to have their support. Because like with most things in parenting, I would otherwise be fudging my way through in the hope that somehow, I will achieve me goal.
If you don’t know about Parenting Power, think of it like an amazing parenting tool box founded by two truly wonderful women – Julie Freedman Smith and and Gail Bell – who have a combined 30 years experience in the education sector, and who we founded Parenting Power with the goal of helping parents face everyday challenges.
Well if trying not to parent without yelling is not an everyday challenge, then I don’t know what is!
Julie and Gail instantly jumped to my help with offers of tips and advice I wanted to share them with you here today, because this is what I’m going to be using to support my mission to parent without yelling and if you also shout at your children than instantly regret it, these are going to be super useful to you too.
Here they share their four ways to parent without yelling:
1. Become Aware:
When/Why are you yelling? Does it regularly happen around a certain situation or a certain feeling (disrespect, not knowing what else to do?)
2. Plan language for those recurring situations – or no language
(Keep your mouth closed and count to 10)
3. Use the Power of “I” to express how you feel:
I feel totally overwhelmed! I’m not sure what to do next.
I feel like I’m going to explode – I need a minute to myself
4. When not in the heat of the moment, make a plan, with your children
…so that they can learn a different behaviour and the consequences are known. That way, in the heat of the moment, you’ll know what to say and have a planned consequence. This may leave you feeling more in control of the situation and stop the yelling.
I am currently on number one but working on numbers two to four in my mission to parent without yelling .
They also suggest a really nice strategy which they explain in their book A YEAR of Intentional Parenting which I am DEFINITELY going to be trying the next time I feel like yelling, and it goes something like this:
Stop, drop, roll
Stop talking, stop yelling. Stay silent and breathe. The silence may shock your child into a change but the best part is, you won’t do something that you regret.
Drop to the floor and just sit. From there, you can go from being against your child to being on the same side. The script could be, “WOW – we were really yelling. We’ve got a problem, how can we fix it?”
Will a hug work? A few deep breaths maybe read a book together or just look at the ceiling for a minute and then regroup and move forward. HOW do we move on from here rather than WHY are we here?
3. Roll..with laughter
If you can find a way to inject humour into the situation, then you are, as they say, “Laughin’!” Use a funny voice to ask “What are we doing?” or make a funny face. Breaking the tension can get everyone moving in a new direction.
I truly love the idea of injecting humour into a situation to diffuse it because laughter is always the best remedy for everything isn’t it? Including the tough times of parenting too it seems!
So I’m putting my best foot forward with these strategies. I CAN do this. But if I lose my cool and slip up? Well, we’re only human and thankfully Parenting Power also offered me some really useful steps to take during those moments when you realise you’ve slipped up and lost your calm that I really wanted to share with you:
If you catch yourself part way through….
cover your mouth and stop. Say:
“I don’t like the sounds that just came out of my mouth. I need to stop.”
Try again in a quiet voice, starting with the word “ I, “ “I feel out of control. I need to use a quiet voice. Please help me to solve this problem and make things better.”
If you have thrown out a horrible punishment…
“That’s it, Christmas is CANCELLED!” or even, “No one goes to the park for a week!” it’s okay to change it. The script is, “ I was not thinking clearly and I need to change what I said. Of course we don’t need to give up the park for a week. Let’s skip the park tomorrow and, when you can show me that you can put your boots and coats away properly, we’ll try the park again the next day.
It’s okay to apologize…
if you know that you have a plan for it to be different next time. Everyone makes mistakes and when we model a sincere apology to our kids, we are teaching them that skill. A sincere apology includes a plan for how to make it different next time.
Work with your kids…
so that the frustrating situation that just happened, doesn’t happen again at the exact same time tomorrow. If you don’t plan a change, the whole thing is likely to happen again. How will they change their behaviour and what are you going to say/do differently? Practice it now and set everyone up for success.