Do you sometimes resort to yelling at your kids to get them to behave? If so, you probably feel guilty afterward and know that this isn’t a very effective way to communicate. It’s one thing to know that you shouldn’t yell, but stopping yourself from getting frustrated to the point of yelling is quite another.
One way to help curb your tendency to fly off the handle is to think about the effects of yelling on a developing child’s psyche. When a child’s home environment is filled with strife and disharmony, he or she may not feel safe there. This can begin to undermine the overall sense of joy a child feels about life. Being yelled at regularly wears away on a child’s self-esteem and sense that “all is right with the world.” It tends to create an uneasy feeling in kids, as they will become apprehensive and anxious about triggering your anger. Nurse and parent educator Rona Renner says that yelling every now and then isn’t necessarily harmful in the long run. However, if you find that you are yelling often, you should work on some strategies to help you control your outbursts.
Renner says that in order to stop yelling, you must first understand why you yell and when you yell. What are your triggers? Is there a certain time of day when you become tired and are less likely to exhibit patience with your kids? Maybe certain things are more apt than others to evoke your yelling. Think about all of the factors that lead you to that breaking point and how you can work to de-escalate before you reach it. It may be as simple as taking a small break to read or have a cup of tea before the kids come home from school. Also, think about whether there may be something else bothering you that is causing you to have a shorter fuse with your children. Sometimes, parents inadvertently misdirect unrelated frustrations at their kids. When parents are carrying stress over another issue, they must be very careful not to take it out on their children.
Taking a long, hard look at yourself will go a long way in helping you to stop yelling at your child. Once you figure out the things that trigger you to yell, you can take a proactive approach and de-escalate the tense situations before they get out of control.