3 tips to help you stop screaming at your kids

September 12, 2011

I have come far. I used to get so mad at my kids, it would scare me – and them. I would yell and throw stuff and just pitch a serious adult size tantrum. Getting mad wouldn’t be a daily occurrence, but would be after days or weeks of not being on top of my game as a mom, being sucked into kid drama, of not taking care of myself, of being alone with the kids while my husband traveled, of fed up with the kids not listening to me…of having, what felt like, zero control over my family….the ultimate stress reaction was to loose it.

I hate yelling. It never helps. It only makes me feel like a crap mother and my kids end up shrinking fearfully into dutifulness. They may ultimately do what was asked of them, but at a super high cost to both of us. And I don’t think I am alone – I think a lot of mom’s are often (at least once a day maybe ladies!?!) at a loss about what to do to create a family life that works, that flows. Kids have a tendency to rock the boat of harmony and unless you are AWAKE and conscious of what is happening on the outside and your reactions to it, you will get sucked into the abyss of kid emotion and turmoil.

So why do we yell?

Well, on the level of energy, we have gotten hooked. We unconsciously get taken (like a wave) with the negative emotions that are children are having. Instead of standing anchored to who we are, to our role as mother and act from a place of grounded intuition, we merge with their energy, we become one with it. This ends up feeling very chaotic! We can’t see straight, our emotions surge as a way to FIX the situation and we yell as a last resort to being heard. But no solution is ever found on the same level of the problem! We can’t actual fix the situation (bring in peace) when we are swimming in our kids emotional soup!

Eckhart Tolle says in his book Practicing The Power of Now, “The ego believes that through negativity (in this setting, anger) it can manipulate reality and get what it wants. It believes that through it, it can attract a desirable condition or dissolve and undesirable one.” He goes on to say that although we think negativity works, it never brings out a desirable outcome – instead of dissolving an undesirable situation, it keeps it in place.

We use anger as mothers, because we know of no other recourse, no other approach that carries with it the same kind of authoritarianism – that carries with it the same kind of impact.

But loosing it doesn’t feel good and I want to feel good and proud of myself as a mother. I want to find new and creative ways that will instill good behavior in my children. I want to be the kind of mother that they remember as inspirational, kind, strong, decisive, playful, clear in my words, respectful and most of all LOVING in all that I do. I love this quote…

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29

So what do we do different? Below are a 3 tips or strategies that have worked for me. It is about finding the peaceful approach that feels good and gets the job done. All mothers are different, all kids are different, but human energy is the same. Try some of these out yourself and see the impact.

  1. Practicing stepping out of the “doings” of my life and into the observer role all the time with my kids. Watching how their energy impacts me. This puts me in the drivers seat of how I react and deal with my kids. For example, when they meltdown after a long day at school, instead of being disappointed or irritated at the behavior, I can SEE that it is about exhaustion and I know that for my daughter, a snack and either time in her room by herself with her dolls or a quick swim in the pool is what she needs (instead of a mad mommy). I don’t get triggered, I just step up to the plate to help her get back to feeling good.
  2. Get down on their level. Instead of yelling directions up the stairs or asking a million times for the kids to do what they are told, I go to them physically, get down on thier level and calmly state my case. This works really well with my little one. When I bend down and calmly tell him what I expect of him at this moment, he drops what he is doing and does it. A little miracle…
  3. I expect positive behavior. I have caught myself on a couple (maybe more…) driving to pick up the kids from school and expecting bad behavior. And do you know what I get? Bad behavior from the kiddos. When I expect good behavior, I don’t always get it right off the bat, but what I do get is a different energy emanating from me – a calm, peaceful, happy, stable energy that they feed off of and in a matter of moments, peace reigns again in the car. In a moment of distress once, I asked my daughter….”What do you want from me!!!?” she said “POSITIVE ENERGY Mamma!” Wise words…made me stop in my tracks. They need stable energy from us in order to make sense of their own emotions. If we slide down that slippery emotional slide with them, they feel unsafe and emotions often escalate.

For more about this tendency read this NY Times article – For Some Parents, Shouting is the New Spanking.

Try a new approach today and see how good you ALL feel! ♥

 

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20 Comments

  • Reply Stress relieving tips | A mom's guide to anger management! | The Joyful Mother Blog October 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    […] I started listening. I wrote recently about HOW we get hooked by the emotions of our kids (3 Tips to Help You Stop Screaming at Your Kids) and what we can do to combat this, but in this post I am going to provide even more resources and […]

  • Reply April Jahns October 11, 2011 at 4:17 am

    I needed to read this. It’s something I should revisit every couple of months to remind myself to step back and take a deep breath.

    • Reply Sigrid October 11, 2011 at 5:45 am

      Writing a follow up to this – will publish tomorrow. It will offer additional perspectives to help you cope! Stay tuned!

  • Reply How to be a good mother | How to Really Love a Child | The Joyful Mother Blog October 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

    […] Stop the yelling – there are better ways to maintain control. Read 3 Tips to Help You Stop Screaming at Your Kids […]

  • Reply Jayme October 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I really needed to read this today! I have been struggling with anger and frustration.. I agree with everything you said and I love your suggestions. Thank you so much for sharing & being so honest!

    • Reply Sigrid October 10, 2011 at 3:25 am

      Thank you Jayme for such supportive words! So glad you liked the post :-))

  • Reply Sigrid hangg | Tresencuerados September 29, 2011 at 1:08 am

    […] Parenting Tips ǀ Does screaming at your kids really work? | The … […]

  • Reply Sara Danker September 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    What a great article! This is definitely a calmer more tactful approach for parents struggling to hold their temper.
    If you don’t mind I would like to post a link to your article on my blog!
    Thanks for your wonderful insight!

    • Reply Sigrid September 19, 2011 at 10:05 am

      Wonderful – I am so glad it resonated with you! Of course link away! What is your blog? Go ahead and post it here so everyone can see! Thanks Sara.

  • Reply Sigrid Stover Kjeldsen September 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Hell yeah mamma!

  • Reply April McCurley Brown September 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Yes it does and I see exactly what you are saying. We are adding a level of stress by even acknowledging that there will be a struggle. I love the calm mantra idea and we will be enacting it. This morning has barely gotten going and Reiley is already being somewhat challenging to say the least. I am a calm and loving mother who is in control of the situation and I am going to help direct my kids into a harmonious and fun day!!!

  • Reply Susan September 14, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Have been reading Eckhart Tolle for some time and find his books a huge help.

  • Reply Sigrid Stover Kjeldsen September 14, 2011 at 3:23 am

    I so relate to your struggle April….as a human – we all go through the times when it works and when it doesn’t work as well. But having that commitment to do better when we know better is the anchor in situations like these. AND to tell yourself you can do it. Sit down with your hubby and design an empowering parent mantra! When we tell ourselves (either consciously or unconsciously) that being in the seat of power is a challenge, it will be. Come up with something like “I am calmly and lovingly in control of whatever situation I find myself in with my children”. But you can’t just say this in times of stress – you must practice feeling the energy of your mantra in the good times too. A good rule of thumb is to hang up a post it note with your mantra on your bathroom mirror, your fridge – places you frequent, so that it can become a dominant thought – your go to thought when dealing with your kids. Does this make sense? Hope it helps!

  • Reply April McCurley Brown September 14, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Hubby just read it. I wanted to wait and comment on this until we had both read it because it was something we both needed to read. We keep telling ourselves that we have to be this calm energy that the kids feed off of and anchor to when they need it as opposed to us allowing them to suck us into total lack of control over our emotions. The get us so fast sometimes though…lol. Nathan and I have been giving each other little pep talks when we have a “situation” we have to deal with. I’ll say, ” Are you the powerful adult or are you going to let the three year old set the tone?” or ” We are the adults, setting an example of how to control your emotions” etc. How can we teach them to control thier emotions and tempers when we can’t even do it? We have major time periods where all is flowing. Then these wierd bumps come where it feels like you and the kids have been fighting all week. I’m pretty proud that the last few weeks I’ve been able to step outside of the situation and say to myself, “ok , you are going to be the one who sets the energy for the day, not the kids. They are not more powerful than you . Love and light…breathe, breathe, breathe. ” And then I go into the situation filled with a calm assured positive energy and I let it just wash over them. It’s been working really well . I just need to stay conscious of what I’m projecting and expecting all the time . I’m sure you know, that’s not always so easy as a tired mom whose husband works a lot. I’m loving the blog and I’m carving out a chunk of time this weekend for some coffee and some reading and catching up on the fitting room. Your wisdom is always so in tune with what I am dealing with that it’s uncanny. Much love to you!!

  • Reply Denise Josiah September 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Great article-just told friends at work this morning that there is a lot of shouting, threats at home in the mornings trying to get Jesse ready for school. Going to try the tips in this article instead. Thanks

    • Reply Sigrid September 13, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Fab Denise! Let me know how it works out. I have other approaches too, just depending on the situation and what feels best for you and your family. Let me know if you get stuck!! Good luck :-)

  • Reply shelia butler September 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    What a great post! It takes courage to admit that we as mothers are not always perfect. I love your suggestions. I recently started learning about Love and Logics parenting and it has really helped me as well.

    • Reply Sigrid September 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Thanks for your words Sheila! I do have to suck in a deep breath when posting such exposing posts! But I feel in my soul that I must. We live in a society that assumes and strives for perfection, yet there is no such thing. By being open and honest about how so many of us feel sometimes as mothers, we can begin to DO BETTER…

  • Reply Dealing With Child Anger | Anger Management For Children September 12, 2011 at 10:41 am

    […] that have been conducted to evaluate where you are then it seems as if your behavior is all right.O, if the rules don have to know everything all the time. Parenting Tip 101: you will need a lot of …the concept is shallow or not is irrelevant. Finances (or lack thereof) figure in to your decision […]

  • Reply Deanna Ford Kearns September 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

    That picture is pricless!!

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