You are likely to be angry when your child displays unruly behaviour despite you having told him or her repeatedly to behave a certain way. And you may end up yelling at your child. But shouting at kids can impact their emotional, cognitive and social development negatively, and can also put the child at risk of developing increased levels of stress and anxiety.
If you find it difficult to be calm and not yell when your child does something wrong, here are some ways to help you stay in control.
1. Identify your triggers
You are perhaps aware of what usually makes you angry. If not, try to identify the common triggers, which may vary from person to person, and find a way to avoid it or at least a way to deal with it.
2. Practice deep breathing
If your child’s behaviour is making you lose calm, wait for a moment, close your eyes and breathe. “If you’re worked up, you’re only going to work up your child. Before addressing your child, take a deep breath and think through what you’re going to say,” suggests Michelle LaRowe, author of A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists.
3. Say ‘stop it’ instead of yelling
Instead of yelling, use a firm, soft tone to convey the message to your child. “When you speak in a calm but firm soft voice, children have to work to listen, and they most always do. The calmer and softer you speak, the more impact your words will have,” LaRowe advises.
4. Address your child’s behaviour
Yelling at your child will not help you teach them a lesson. First, you need to find out why your child is behaving a certain way or if there is something that is bothering them. Exercise some self-control in the moment and then go back to discussing the issue with your child later, once you are calmer.
5. Leave the room
If you are unable to control yourself immediately, take time-out. Child development specialist Judy Arnall suggests one can go and yell into the toilet and come back. Leave the room and find a strategy to calm yourself like squeezing a stress ball.
6. Do not keep unrealistic expectations
Parents tend to have high expectations from their child and want them to be ‘perfect’. Remember every child is unique. Acquaint yourself with what is developmentally appropriate and tweak actions accordingly.