Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Are You Guilty?
Yelling, Screaming, & Hollering, Oh my!
When my daughters were in school, I served as a room parent. Being a team player with the teacher is critical to a child's classroom success and attitude about learning. Honestly, one of my motives behind my service was to observe how the teacher interacted with the children, particularly mine. I never wanted them to be victims of a screamer teacher. I felt that loosing control and yelling at children is nothing but exasperated intimidation. Plus, it reveals a lack of self-control. To be fair, I've taught preschool and substituted in the public schools; there are bad days when you occasionally "lose it." While screaming at kids releases the pressure valve, it does more harm in the long run.
Children perceive screaming as your last resort, they're intimidated by your lack of self-control, and they're often amused that they have the "power" to make you "lose it." And, believe me, that "power" becomes energy. They're energized to used their power again. Do you see the vicious cycle?
Parents call my office and ask how they can stop screaming to get their kids to mind. The first thing I usually advise, "Speak in a lower tone or even a whisper."
"But, they won't hear me, Brenda, if I lower my volume."
"What do you think will happen?"
"They'll keep it up!"
Well, maybe. When kids see a parent (or teacher) moving her lips, they know something is coming out. If they can't hear, often they'll quiet themselves to get it. Curiosity!
Also, kids are quick learners. If they know you don't mean it until you SCREAM, they'll continue to misbehave until they hear your "I REALLY MEAN IT NOW" voice. In essence, you've taught them to not listen until you raise your volume. Teacher!
You are your child's first - and most influential - educator. When you practice self-control in the face of frustration, you teach them how to remain calm when annoyed. Model!
Today, practice disciplining in a "I mean it now" low, calm, self-controlled voice. At least they won't snicker at you behind your back.

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