Sunday, January 13, 2013

Scream, Shout and Yell, Oh My!

“Brenda, my kids never listens unless I yell at them.”
I frequently hear this comment in my work as a childrearing expert, speaker, and media guest. Parents want help and encouragement in their enormous task, and effective discipline is always at the top of their list.

Many parents say they can’t get their kids to mind until there's screaming. After I listen to a parent, I sometimes ask, “Why do you think you don't get a response until then?”

“Because that’s when they know I really mean it!”

“Oh, so you don’t mean it when you say something in a normal voice?” I tease.

“Yes! Of course.”

“Then why don’t your kids mind?”

“Probably because I don’t follow-through and end up yelling to make 'em move.”

Precisely. Since kids are born learners, they’ve learned that you don’t mean what you say until – or unless – you RAISE your VOICE! These little students have absorbed your lesson well. Unfortunately, yelling at children confuses and intimidates them and teaches many wrong lessons including

• they’re not worthy of being spoken to in civil tones
• it’s acceptable to yell at you or others
• they ignore respectful and dignified requests when people speak in normal voice
• others don’t mean what they say until they yell, and
• an acceptable form of stress relief is screaming, ranting, and raving.

“I hate being a screamer. How do I stop?" is the next question.

As a mom, there’ve been times I’ve yelled to get action. But I discovered that I didn’t have to scream to be effective in my discipline. Most parents occasionally emphasize with a raised voice but, if this is your daily habit then it’s an unhealthy form of communication.

Here’s my advice; I encourage parents to take one day at a time. Screaming isn’t a pattern quickly broken. Just as you practiced yelling and saw results, you’ll have to practice not yelling.

Remember, practice makes permanent. Along with trying to speak in a normal voice, practice

• touching your child on the arm or back to get his attention
• when you have eye contact, speak in a normal – firm – tone of voice
• if your child won’t mind, use another discipline method such as consequences.

Remember, it’s your job to be a role model. How do you want to model communication in the home and to others? Leave your comment, story, or question below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you are a wonderful friend, and also a terrific author. You have given the utmost educting and caring advice to myself and others. May you always be blessed!