For many, yelling has become a normal part of our daily routine. However, recent studies indicate consistent negative reinforcement (such as yelling) isn’t helping and, in fact, can be harmful, especially to adolescents. Moreover, when Mom and Dad yell often, children of all ages are likely to tune out reprimands or requests. So what is an overwhelmed parent to do? Next time you feel the urge to shout, keep your cool — start 2017 with these 17 ways to yell less.
1. Count to 10.
Count slowly, either out loud or to yourself, before responding.
Kids expect yelling, but you defy their expectations when you drop your voice to a whisper. This gets their attention immediately.
3. Take deep breaths.
Breathe in, hold the breath for a few seconds, then breathe out through your nose. Deep breathing inhibits stress-producing hormones, relaxing both your brain and body.
4. Ask a question.
Fight the urge to yell by asking a question like “Why did you hit your sister?” You may feel less angry once you hear the answer.
5. Give a hug.
Physical touch is often enough to melt your anger. If not, let it serve as a reminder of how much you love your child.
Your kids might think you are crazy, but again, you will get their attention.
7. Leave the room.
Sometimes, it’s best to turn and walk away. Address the issue later, when emotions have cooled.
8. Take a walk.
Even brief physical activity can help you beat stress. A walk around the block removes you from the situation and gives you
time to calm down.
9. Take a bath.
Model self-care by meeting your own needs. De-stress with a hot, relaxing bath and afterwards you may not
feel like yelling.
10. Look at baby pictures.
It’s harder to be mad at
your kids when you remember the adorable, little babies they once were.
11. Listen to music.
Jazz and classical music are both considered calming.
12. What’s in your day?
Does most of your yelling revolve around rushing out the door? Think about what you can eliminate from your life to create a more relaxed routine that will be less stressful for the whole family.
13. Eliminate unrealistic expectations.
Give your children room to make mistakes. Instead of feeling angry when they mess up, view these situations as teachable moments.
14. Phone a friend.
Moral support can make all the difference when trying to remain calm. Vent your frustrations to an understanding friend.
15. Call for back-up.
It’s okay to need a break. Ask your spouse or partner to step in, or call a babysitter or neighbor to watch the kids for a few hours while you can regain your composure.
16. Explore your own emotions.
Are you really upset with your children? Or are you frustrated with another aspect of your life?
Even the best parents lose their cool. If you yell, be sure to apologize once you have regained your composure. It’s important to teach our kids that yelling is never the best solution.
— Alyssa Chirco is a parenting journalist and mother of two. She still relies on deep breathing exercises she learned in childbirth classes many years ago to help her stay calm when she feels like yelling at her kids.