Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why do I always end up yelling at my child?

Think about the last time you yelled at your child. Ask yourself how many times you “repeated” yourself before you yelled. Most of the time, we yell at our children because we have asked them to do something 5 times and they have not listened. We yell because we are frustrated that they have not heard or obeyed us. Maybe the problem is that we are asking too many times.

Yelling tends to come from being too patient. Yea, that’s what I said - TOO patient. Here’s an example. Your 10 year old son has the basketball in the house. You have asked him before to play with it outside but he really isn’t “playing” with it, he is just holding it. Then he casually starts lightly throwing it in the air. Little by little it gets higher until it lands on the ground with a thud. You say, “Don’t play with that in the house.” “Yes mom” and he stops. A few minutes later he does the same thing again, not really thinking. You see that he did it without thinking and say, “I told you not to throw that in the house.” And he stops for a while. This continues a few more times and because you are busy cooking dinner you just keep shouting out. Each time you get a little angrier and angrier. Finally you put down what you are doing, go into the living room and scream “I SAID STOP. GO YOU YOUR ROOM no more TV……”

The problem here is that you gave him too many warnings and you never made the consequence for disobeying clear. Here is how that story could have played out.

The first time you hear the basketball hit the ground you walk into the living room and say “It seems that you may have forgotten about the rule that you can’t play with that ball in the house. Maybe you didn’t realize what you were doing. If you can’t stop yourself from playing with it I will need to take it away and turn off the TV. This in itself might stop him from repeating the offense because you stopped what you were doing, were very clear and precise.

Suppose it does happen again. It’s time to take ACTION and follow through on what you said you would do. You take the ball and turn off the TV. No second or third warning. You made clear what the consequence would be and now it is time to do it. Because things have not progressed, you have a greater ability to control your anger and are much less likely to yell.

This example was for a 10 year old but it applies to younger children and some older. Clearly and lovingly state what they are doing wrong and what will happen if they do it again. If they do it again TAKE ACTION.


madhavi sood said...

Thanks a lot Marcia for your wonderful blogpost and I read most of your helpful and so very practical advise. Thanks, really appreciate the effort and the simple and straightforward approach you have asked us Parents to follow.... something our Parents used to do and now we have forgotten ourselves :)
Yet, I would like to add with all due respect to you, each kid is different from the other in temperament ; what works for my kid may not work for other kids. But I liked the bottom line that you have written so realistically - to be affectionate, firm and also take action without getting unduly upset or hitting the lid!! :)
I tried this first with narrating a story and then did it practically ; switching OFF the TV and my daughter did NOT throw a tantrum for once. The second time she herself switched off the TV and we both sat together amicably and studied for our forthcoming tests :)
Sending you a big, grateful hug to you.
Best Regards,
Madhavi Sood alias Madhavi Mohandas
(Author of 'From the Silence Within)

Marcia Hall said...

I am glad you enjoyed the post and have taken steps to implement them. I agree very strongly with you. NO two children are alike. Each is unique and therefore what works with one child will not always work with another. The way you take action will change from child to child. But it is always important to remain as compassionate (as possible) in every circumstance. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Superb! Like hittingthe nail bang on the head...thank you