What to Do When You Really REALLY Want to Scream at the Kids

I tripped on ANOTHER toy car… again… yes, the second time today (“ANOTHER CAR?!  WHO LEFT THIS OUT?! Why do we have so many toy cars again?”) As the words come streaming out of my mouth, under my breath, I hold back. I don’t let them turn into what I really want to say or how loud I really want to say them. No… I’m not going to yell. I’m not going to yell. I’m not GOING TO YELL!

I don’t need to yell. Why? Rules were set in place from Day One. If my kids broke a rule, they lost a privilege.

My kids pick their consequences and, amazingly, it works. We all decided on consequences ahead of time and those consequences stay until we decided to change them (usually a year or more). That means that since the kids created them, they know what they are and I hold them to it. I don’t have to yell, because they know that if they do X, they get Y.  They created Y, so it is easy for them to understand.

Now let’s talk about what DOES NOT WORK:  yelling.

Yelling stems from loss of control. Yelling stems from irritation and frustration. It happens to most of us at some point. But the thing is: 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 up a mess?

Here is how I handle it:

  • WHISPER: It’s much scarier. I mean, It grabs their attention. If your kids get too loud, don’t yell over them, just whisper. It causes them to stop and REALLY listen to what you are saying.
  • MONKEY SEE: 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 guessed it, you have to do it yourself.
  • LET IT BE: Remember that they are still kids. They aren’t always going to do the right thing. They aren’t always going to do what they should. They will “Take chances. Make mistakes,” as Mrs. Frizzle used to say as she climbed aboard the Magic School Bus.
  • I’M SORRY: You will yell. You will lose your temper. You will step out of line. You will give a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime. Just say “I’m Sorry.” Let your kids know that we make mistakes, too.
  • TALK TO THEM: Talk TO your child, not AT your child. The best thing that you can do for your child is to sit down and talk to them. There is a quote that says, “Most children need a good listening to more than they need a good talking to.” Try it and see.

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