If you’re shouting more than you’d like, firstly change the way you think.
I first learned this from Bonnie Harris.
When children don’t behave well – it’s normal.
It’s just when we attach added meaning that we start to feel angry.
Thoughts like ‘he’s lazy, she’s selfish, he’s doing it deliberately, she’s spoilt, he never listens’ or ‘I’m a hopeless mum, I should be able to control my children, he’s ignoring me, or she should respect me.’ No wonder you end up shouting!
So to think differently it’s good to:

  • Recognise what thoughts are popping into your head,
  • Realise what’s making you feel angry,
  • Check how realistic those thoughts are,
  • And what you expect of your child,
  • And think of more accurate or helpful ideas.

Is your child tired, bored, hungry, wanting your attention, experimenting, absorbed in play, worried if they listen you’ll just nag or criticise them, not as tidy as you, or did they forget, or get distracted?
When you have more realistic thoughts and work out what’s really going on it’s much easier to stop shouting.
You need to take responsibility for your emotions and reactions. It’s not ok to blame your child. They’re your feelings –your child doesn’t make you feel them.

Secondly, decide you’re going to stop shouting and perhaps keep a record.
Make a chart to see how long you can go without shouting. Divide it into morning, afternoon and evening sections. Or hourly slots if you’re shouting a lot.
Give yourself a reward every time you manage not to shout for a certain length of time.
Tell your family what you’re doing. Perhaps they could join in too?
Keeping a chart will make you more aware of when you shout. Then it’s up to you to start finding solutions.

And finally, find better ways to get your child to behave.
When you shout, your child behaves out of fear. But what you want is to teach your child to control their own behaviour.
So sit down with your child and find solutions. Talk about the rules you want and set up routines. Keep commenting when they behave well. And describing in detail what you like.
When they do something wrong, get them to do an action replay, doing it right the second time. Ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good behaviour. Ask them if they need time to calm down and encourage them to do something to make amends.

Work out what you’ll do in advance if your child doesn’t behave and then use that instead of shouting.

So, the three tips to help you stop shouting are:

  1. Change the way you think
  2. Decide you’re going to stop shouting
  3. Find different, better ways to get your child to behave.
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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