By Marli Naidoo
Yelling is a temporary solution which in the long term just causes harm. The effects of fierce physical and verbal discipline are disturbingly similar. A child who is yelled at is more inclined to show problematic behaviour, which causes his parents to yell at him even more. It is an unhealthy cycle, which clearly indicates that yelling makes no positive contribution to the long-term solving of conflict or improvement of behaviour.
However, it is difficult to stop yelling at your kids when you have been doing it for so many years. You will have to become your own emotional coach, and teach yourself to embrace connection to your child, and let go of control.
Reach an agreement with your child that you will use a respectful tone of voice. You will not always succeed, but you have then already taken the first step.
Realise that your most important task as parent is to control your own emotions. You teach your child to manage his emotions by displaying emotional regulation. Your child will follow your example. Show him empathy, and he will display empathy towards others. The same goes for anger outbursts.
Expect your child to act like a child. He is immature and cannot think straight when he is unhappy or angry. He is not a robot, and will make many mistakes.
When you feel overwhelmed, it will show and take a few minutes to apply self-care. Acknowledge your emotions to yourself, take responsibility for your mood, give yourself what you need to feel better, and don’t try and blame your feelings on your child, even if it feels as if he is pressing all your buttons. It is important to understand that other emotions are hiding behind your anger. In actual fact you are frightened, sad, or disappointed. Let these emotions flow over you, and cry if you want to. When you allow these true emotions to surface, the anger will disappear by itself.
Try to see things from your child’s perspective, even while you are setting limits. When you child feels you are on his side, he will not want to be unnecessarily difficult. Explain to him why boundaries are important, and allow him to share his opinion with you. You are a team.
When you get angry, don’t overreact. First stop, take a deep breath, and think about your reaction. If you are yelling already, stop immediately. Even if it is in the middle of a sentence. Reassume the discussion when you are calm.
Now take positive action from a calmer place. You might possibly have to apologise to your child.
It won’t be easy, and will require self-control and patience. However, don’t give up, and it will become easier to not resort to anger. You will also be amazed to see how your kids start to react positively and cooperate, without you having to speak louder in any way.
Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/peaceful-parents-happy-kids/201302/10-steps-stop-yelling
Net Doctor: https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/parenting/a29430/best-ways-to-discipline-children/