Did you know that you can stop yelling to get your kids to listen? They will even start telling you more and really talking to you (this is what happened to us the other day).
When I was a teacher, I never yelled at my students (I wouldn’t have dreamt of it, honestly!).
Why? Rules were set in place from Day One. If they broke a rule, they lost a privilege. The same principle stands in the ‘regular’ world. If our kids break a rule, they lose a privilege – maybe electronics or a play date.
LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY CLASSROOM (just a little background info):
In the first school that I ever taught in, we had this idea of asking our first grade students for input.
My students told me about which privilege would be lost (from doing the wrong thing), which rewards were gained (from doing the right thing), when those things would take effect, etc… They just had a “say” in how things were laid out. This let them have a true part in decision making, so when they did something (good or not good) they knew the outcome because they had helped to create it. It gave them a sense of ownership.
I even let them keep a notebook with their grades, their daily progress, their goals and more. So every day, they would take out their notebook and they would fill in the graph for how well they did. (Example: We had a bar graph for spelling tests. Every test, they would take out their graph and color in the correct number of words that they got.) Every week, they would go back in and see how they were doing. Did they progress or regress?
They kept track of their behavior every day, their homework, etc… (I also kept track, but this particular notebook was for them.)
The idea is to let them take ownership is a real way to help them achieve success and desire to do so.
THIS WILL WORK IN YOUR HOME, TOO. You aren’t yelling – you are letting your child take part in what happens and the consequences speak for themselves.
Now lets talk about what DOES NOT WORK: yelling.
Yelling stems from loss of control. It happens to most of us at some point. Yelling stems from irritation and frustration. Talking to your kids, in a calm manner, will get you SO much further than yelling. It will let you have a relationship with back and forth conversation. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What is it the causes you to yell? Toys being left out? Shoes on in the house? Repeatedly asking them to clean their rooms?
When this feeling to yell arises, try these suggestions instead:
1- Remember that if you yell- they will yell. “Monkey see, Monkey do.”
If you want to see your child lose control in frustrating situations, you just have to do it yourself. If you want to see your child remain calm and collected and face a problem like an adult- you have to do it.
2. Whisper to get their attention.
Crazy, right?! I used to do this ALL THE TIME when I taught. When the kids would become too loud, I didn’t want to yell over their voices, so I would whisper. I do this now, as a mom. It causes them to stop whatever they are doing to REALLY LISTEN to what you have to say. It makes everyone a little calmer.
3- Let their natural consequences speak for themselves.
If a toy is lost or broken because it was left out, don’t replace it. If they don’t get to go outside because they didn’t do chores, don’t “give in”. Remember- the rules are made and you don’t have to bend them. Don’t even let anyone know that this CAN be done.
One time, we ate in a different room of the house and our son asked me “Mom- are you sure we can do this? I don’t think we should be eating in this room.” They had no idea that I set the rule up in the first place, because it was just never questioned.
4- They are children.
Remember this and then remember it again. They are children. Try to remember back to when you were a child. Our decisions as a child are not always good ones and we need to use all of these moments as teachable moments.
5- Don’t worry about “The Jones’.”
I see and hear parents all of the time that will say “I just wish that i was more like ___” but you need to remember that everyone has their struggles. No one’s life is as perfect as they show on Facebook. Seriously. We all lose our tempers at some point (which brings us to #6)
6- Just say “I’m Sorry”
If I feel like I stepped out of line and the punishment didn’t fit the crime (example: Lose electronics for a week because they didn’t make their bed today) I will just say “I’m sorry. I went overboard today. I shouldn’t have yelled like that. I thought about it, talked to Daddy, and we decided that two days is plenty, but you also have to do an extra chore today to make up for the one that I had to do for you.”
7- Talk TO your child, not AT your child.
As I was stating above, the best thing that you can do for your child is to sit down and talk to them. It makes a difference once your child is old enough. If I can just talk to our kids and say “The way that you are acting is making me really sad. I just don’t understand why you would do that. What should I do about it if this happens again? Do you think I should have you write an apology note to your brother? Or maybe you should do one of his chores? I always think of you as being such a sweet boy and I just can’t imagine that you would intentionally hurt his feelings. Is something else going on? Can you please try to work on being the nice boy that I know you are?” (a little reverse psychology i doesn’t hurt, either!)
ps- Yelling is not a TERRIBLE thing, so don’t feel bad right now if you are reading this and thing “Oh no. I yelled today.” The reason I say this is that I don’t want our kids to never hear any yelling or voice raising, because then when they do hear it from a coach or something and they are very scared or nervous from it, that isn’t a good thing! I do, however, want it to be limited.
As my mom says: “When you know better… you do better.”
You are welcome to sign up for my FREE e-mail series on spending more time with your children. In the meantime, I’ll send you this printable calendar to get you started (free).