How To Communicate With Kids Without Yelling
Yelling, screaming, losing cool, raising our voice, often silences the message we want to convey.
Our kids learn how to have productive conversations by watching us. When kids don’t listen or co-operate, we often resort to yelling. When promises, pleading and threats no longer work, yelling feels like the only option.
But does yelling work?
Let me share an anecdote. Yesterday, my kids were were playing with their favorite play doh. I told them not to make mess and just play on the play mat. Having said that, I left the room to finish my chores. Post an hour when I came back I saw the entire room was full of playdoh – the floor, the walls, everything. I completely lost my cool. My instant reaction was an expected one. I yelled at them for not listening. And asked them to help me clean the mess. Did they listen? NO. I eventually cleaned the entire room on my own. And that’s not it. Later that evening, I saw them talking/ yelling at each other in the exact same tone and manner as I did.
The point of sharing this is simple. Yelling never helps in fixing or changing the behaviour. Infact, kids end up picking up the same yelling/screaming/shouting as a behaviour and consider it as normal
Frequent yelling can result in increased anxiety in children thereby leading to a negative cycle of communication. It often leads to power struggle with kids. The more we yell at them, the more defiant they tend to be.
Let me confess! I have been a yeller for a long time. We all lose our patience after a point and find it an easy option (to vent and to control). However I have faced it’s consequences. Trust me, it hurts and feels terrible when kids give us back in the same tone and volume. And that precisely makes me think how bad and humiliated they feel everytime we yell at them. I now try to watch my tone, words and volume while conversing with kids.
How To Communicate With Kids Without Yelling
Here are some strategies that I try to communicate with kids without yelling and encourage them to co-operate and listen –
1 Setting clear limits
Setting clear house rules let kids know about the acceptable behaviour and also the consequences for the unacceptable behaviour. Setting limits early help to eliminate the problem well before it grows and triggers to yelling.
2 Adjusting my expectations
When expectations are in line with our kid’s abilities, its easier to communicate and make them understand. Expecting a toddler not to make mess, or not to touch everything is unfair. If we adjust our expectations as per age-appropriate child behavior, we are able to react in a better way.
3 Create an eye contact while communicating
Children are much likely to follow through our requests or instructions when it’s don’t face to face, with an eye contact. I have experienced this myself. Connecting with them this way makes them feel confident and responsible and they are more likely to do the tasks we ask them to do.
4 Positive Reinforcement
Words of praise not just motivate kids but also reduces the attention-seeking behaviour. When my kids listen and co-operate at one go, I often tell them ‘thank you for listening / understanding ‘. These simple words not just make them smile but encourage them to repeat the same behaviour in future.
5 Know my trigger points
I often examine the reasons that make me yell. For example, mess is my trigger point and I know it well. So I consciously work on my self to calm myself down and not react instantly in such a situation .
As parents it’s normal to get frustrated with your children at times, especially if they are misbehaving. But the way we express our frustration and deal with the situation can have major implications on their personality development in the long run. Harsh parental disciplining measures like yelling can even have a bigger impact on kids.
Yelling can worsen the behaviour of the child further. Which means one will have to yell more to try to connect to it. And the cycle continues. That’s because human mind processes negative information and events more quickly and thoroughly than the good ones.
As parents we can check our behaviour. It’s never too late to make changes in our parenting behaviour or learn new techniques. If you notice yourself yelling a lot at your child, think again and practice ways to communicate in a much healthier way. Remember, our behaviour will reflect in your child’s attitude, behavior and even though process.
This post is part of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge run by Blogchatter
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