A while ago now I decided I was shouting at the kids too much and decided to stop shouting (or at least try to) wherever possible and to deal with telling them off in a more effective way.
It’s not like I shouted at them all the time or anything, I just felt that the amount I shouted was too much and that I wasn’t setting a very good example. I felt that the message was getting lost a bit as they were upset at being shouted at and as a result, they didn’t always listen to what I was actually saying.
It took a few weeks to ‘train’ myself to act differently if they were naughty but I did and that was that – a calmer household. Don’t get me wrong though, I do still shout at them on occasion but less than I used to and only when absolutely necessary.
Over the last few weeks I’ve seen a couple of quite shocking (to me at least) examples of parents shouting at their children in public. And even though I know that from where I was standing I had no idea of what happened beforehand or what (if anything) has led the parents to act like they did, I strongly disagree with the way that I saw those situations handled.
I’m not going to go into much detail about the examples I’m referring to as I don’t want to get into a debate about why it happened or whether it was right or wrong. Suffice to say that I am not a fan of screaming and shouting at children, regardless of the situation.
I’m not an expert in the subject but I thought I’d share the five things that I focus on to help me stop shouting at my children in the hope that it helps other people to do the same….
Stop shouting – Choose your battles
Like all parents, there are many times that I have to say no to my children for lots of different reasons but I’m slowly learning to choose my battles with them. I can choose to look the other way for some things or to let them do something I would usually say no to because it isn’t really a big thing in the grand scheme of things. A good example of this would be when Master Frugal decided one night last week that he didn’t want tea as he’d rather just have porridge – should I have forced him to eat tea or just let him have porridge as a one off? I let him have porridge because it’s not really a big deal and we discussed that it couldn’t be a regular thing and he had asked me before I started cooking his tea. I could have said no easily but I choose my battles better these days and decided that I could let him ‘win’ this one to save the potential battle that it could have turned into.
Stop shouting – Lower your expectations
Sometimes I think I expect too much of my children and when they don’t live up to the expectations I have then I can get frustrated and get annoyed with them. Much of the time, they’re not being naughty, they’re just being children and as parents, we need to make sure that we don’t expect too much of them and stop shouting at them for being children.
Stop shouting – When children are naughty, take some time before dealing with the situation
If either of my children do anything worthy of being shouted at, I tell them that they need to go to their room and that we’ll talk about it when I’m ready to. I tell them that they must not leave their room and that they are not allowed to play with any toys or electronics. They can read a book or they can wait for me to shout them down – their choice.
If they leave their room for anything other than the toilet then they know that any punishment they’re given will be worse. This time out allows me to calm down and them to (hopefully) realise what they did wrong and it’s my main weapon in my stop shouting stance.
If we’re out in public, I very calmly explain to them that I am very disappointed and that we will discuss things further when we get home.
Stop shouting – Sit together calmly and discuss what happened
It’s really important that you only discuss what happened and what the punishment will be when you’re feeling calm and they’ve had long enough to think about what they’ve done. Before you start talking to them, make sure you’re all sitting down together and that there are no distractions like the TV in the background.
I start by asking them if they know what they did wrong and generally, if they admit that they’ve done wrong then we discuss what they did wrong and why it was wrong and I will punish them accordingly if it’s necessary – usually by taking away what they love the most, ie. phones, Xbox for a set period of time depending on what the severity of what they did wrong.
If they deny doing something that I know they did then the punishment will be much worse as I can’t stand it when children lie.
Stop shouting – Stick to your punishments
Don’t make empty threats – you need to follow through on whatever punishment you give out and not let them off for any reason. When they see you are serious about punishment then they really will think twice before being naughty again.
I have a feeling that this no shouting lark is going to come in very handy in the next few years as the kids approach the teen years! 😉
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Image credit Shutterstock, Boris Ryaposov