2 Ways to Help You Stop Yelling at Your Kids

29 Dec
  1. Be an active listener.

If you are in a conflict, draw your child out to see how he genuinely feels. Avoid being overly judgmental, which leaves your child feeling criticized, and will cause him to become defensive. One of my clients, Ken, shared with me how he found it helpful to ask his twelve-year-old son, Troy, to “Please help me understand why you seem upset.” Just that simple question helped Ken remember to listen to rather than lecture his son. Even if Troy did not give Ken an immediate answer, Ken realized that by asking this question he left the door open for Troy to share this thoughts and feelings later on. This question also helped prevent Ken from going into what Troy referred to as, “lecture mode.”

  1. Use understanding to slow yourself down.

Listening as described above helps you to dig deeper and understand what’s really going on with your defiant child. This is perhaps the best antidote to yelling. While understanding alone may not stop you from yelling, it will help. Try to analyze what it is that you’d like your child to change, and then rationally explain it to him. For example, in the case of a messy bedroom, ask yourself what is okay and what you’d like him to stop doing. Kayla, the mother of thirteen-year-old Gordon, realized that she could live with some clothes on the floor but not with two-week-old potato chips in the corner. As another example, is it possible that your son refused to get ready for school because he has a test he is not ready for? Or, is your daughter scared of being rejected by her new group of friends and she is taking it out on you? Stay mindful that understanding what is going on with your child will help slow you down emotionally. The more you slow down, the less emotionally reactive you will be and the less likely you are to yell.

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