Thursday, June 5, 2014

How I trained myself to NOT yell at my kids

**I'm so excited to announce that I've started a youtube channel discussing everything home making. My channel name is Surviving As Mom.  Check it out!!

Let me start by saying, this is a relatively new thing for me.  I'd say I've been using this method for only the last 2 years.  As with everything about parenting, I learned this through trial and error.  Unfortunately, my twins were the guinea pigs along the way.  Also, with the birth of my third child, I didn't want to expose a newborn to yelling, so it was a good time to start changing my ways.

I'll admit, I was a yeller.  I would shout and yell at my boys for nearly everything.  If you think of the toddler years and all the trouble they get into during that time, there was a lot of yelling.  I first noticed something needed to change when I wasn't getting the result I was looking for when trying to correct and discipline my kids.  They'd usually ignore me more and carry on with their activity.  After a while, they started to show fear at my yelling.  I wasn't happy with that reaction at all.  Even though I wanted them to stop what they were doing and pay attention to me, I definitely did not want them to fear me.  I'd also felt very guilty for yelling at them.  I even tried giving a smack on the hand or tooshie, but all that did was hurt me more than them, so I stopped that pretty fast.  Yelling was also an automatic reaction for me (and my husband).  I think its a normal reaction for most people who are frustrated, angry, stressed, etc., so teaching myself not to yell has helped me in other parts of my life as well.

It took training on my part to stay calm and not yell as a first reaction.  I had to constantly remind myself of this.  I taught myself that when I feel the urge to yell, instead I should lower my voice and speak more calmly.  This is great for a few reasons.  One good thing is that it helps me to just stay calm in general.  When you yell, you get more anxious and aggressive.  My children also respond better.  They listen better and they are more responsive to my requests and demands.  If you yell, children shut down and block you out.  When I lower my voice and speak slowly, they pay more attention and listen better.  We also gain mutual respect for each other.  Because I'm not yelling at them like animals, they know I respect them as little people and they respect me more as an authority figure.  Many people don't think this is important with kids, but it is.  When you respect them, they respect you.  It's also good for their self esteem and confidence.  I don't want to break them down.  I just want them to respect my authority.  This has improved our relationship too.  We all have a better understanding of each other.

In addition to NOT yelling, I explain things so they can understand and learn to use their own logic.  Even if you don't think your child will "get it", explain anyway.  Eventually they will understand.  For example, instead of telling my kids "Don't touch that", I'll explain "Don't touch that plug because it is dangerous.  You can get electrocuted and it will hurt a lot."  Or instead of saying "Don't go in the pool", I'll explain "Going in the pool without a grown up is very dangerous.  If you go in, you will sink and you can die because you can't breathe."  Some people think it's harsh to use death as a consequence, but it's important for them to know serious consequences.  I taught them this from day one and so far, they have never attempted to go in the pool alone (they are 5 now).   They understand true danger.

I'll be the first to admit that I am not perfect.  There are definitely days when I'm a bit frazzled and overwhelmed and I lose my temper and yell.  When that happens, I apologize for yelling after I've calmed down a bit.  My kids also get offended when I yell because it's not normal for me anymore.  They understand that sometimes they make me a little crazy, but I will continue to try to control myself.  They also understand that they have to help me by cooperating and behaving.

On a few different occasions recently, I've had comments from different moms telling me how calm I am and asked me how I manage to not yell, especially when my 3 kids are driving me nuts in public. I explain this method and they seem impressed at my level of self control.  It is very reassuring and makes me feel great.  Maybe I'm doing something right.  That's why I decided to share this with everyone.  Hopefully it helps you too.