Remember that time your child dropped your smart phone (or some other expensive item) in the toilet? Can your recall how you felt when you asked your son or daughter to clean their room, pick up their underwear off the living room floor (which you have no idea why it would be there in the first place), come inside or stop the bickering or whining for the thousandth time? It’s not hard to conjure up those frustrated, stressed out, even angry feelings that can pop up from time to time. One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves as a parents is how we can manage those feeling and subsequently act in a way that is going to simultaneously allow us to care for ourselves, build connection and teach our kids important skills and principles.
The foundation and starting point of solving any problem with our kids is being able to manage our own emotions and act in an emotionally calm, empathetic and genuine way that promotes connection and real learning. The idea here is not terribly complex but the execution of staying calm can be one of the most challenging skills to master for anyone. I have gathered together some of the best tips I have found for helping parents calm themselves and act in positive, loving ways instead of yelling, nagging, or resorting to punishments that just backfire anyway.
Setting Boundaries Up Front/Taking Care of You
“Are you guarding your time well? If your calendar is stuffed full and you dread most of it, it’s time to start saying “no” to more events and commitments and yes to a happier, less-stressed life. This is not easy for us people-pleasers, but it’s a big step in the direction of becoming less frazzled. In addition, how much time is being wasted on frivolous tasks that could be better spent doing something that truly fills your cup?” Rebecca Eanes, Author of Positive Parenting: An Essential guide, http://mariashriver.com/blog/2016/06/positive-parenting-how-to-stop-yelling-and-be-a-less-frazzled-parent-rebecca-eanes/
The Quick Calm Technique (TRU Parenting)
Andy Smithson, http://truparenting.net/quickcalmtoolkit/
Set A Time Limit
Delay the Response
“If you feel like yelling, try to do something else first. Count. Drink a glass of water. Suck on an ice cube. Even a 30-second delay can help you break through the automatic angry response and give you a moment to regain self-control.” Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/growing-friendships/201304/preventing-mom-meltdowns-and-dad-detonations
Simple Statements to Help Ground Yourself
Michele Meleen Sheilds offers “Not sure why, but the first thing that came to mind is a quote from the Netflix show DinoTrux: “Two boguses don’t make a narly!” a much more fun way to say that yelling at your children for doing something wrong (2 wrongs) doesn’t make the situation right.”
Create a Plan
“We can’t expect our kids to control their behavior if we’re unable to control our own. It starts with us. Consider creating your own “calm down plan” for the times you find yourself triggered and be kind to yourself in the process.” Debbie Zeichner, http://debbiezeichnerlcsw.com/how-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kids/
A Different Approach: Exagerate your anger to the point of humor.
“Rather than trying to stifle your anger, go into it on purpose. Safe, deliberate exaggeration gets kids’ attention, meets your need for power and, if it’s humorous, creates connective giggles. Then you can regroup and go into problem-solving.” Sandy Smith Blackard, http://www.languageoflistening.com/blog/stop-reacting-start-exaggerating/
* (Please read the complete article here to get a better idea about how to positively and effectively use this suggestion. It’s about acknowledging your own feelings and needs in order to transition to more productive problem solving.)
“This will sound crazy, but it is so fun. People love the idea, and it works! After watching Elf for the millionth time over Christmas and laughing at Buddy’s “I’m standing in a store and I’m singing!” I decided that I too can stand and sing… my frustrations. So I started to put my corrections, suggestions and felt aggravations into song for a laugh. Talk about de-escalation.
Instead of losing it over asking for the school bag to be put away for the 7th time, or over towels to be hung up, I was singing a little tune about this reminder.” Kelly Flannigan Bos, http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/kelly-flannigan-bos-the-relationship-rescuer/20160118/5-strategies-for-self-regulation
“When you’re triggered, your mind is in overdrive. Your breathing is rapid. Your muscles are tense. You’re ready for a fight.
Instead of letting these emotions drive you to anger, focus on the word STOP.
Each letter in the word stands for a step you can use to interrupt the angry cycle and stay calm with your kids.
- Say it out loud.
- Turn around.
- Observe the Situation.
- Praise.” Nicole Schwarz, http://imperfectfamilies.com/2015/09/14/help-for-angry-parent/
Know Your Triggers
“My best advice is to recognize your triggers so you can avoid getting to that point all together.
Stop doing everything you possibly can, put down your phone, turn down the tv, ask for help, redirect the kids.
For example your cooking dinner, house is loud, kids are shrieking, or bickering and you feel yourself getting annoyed.
Get rid of all other distractions (obviously you can’t stop cooking,) set the kids up with something to do, art project, or a book. Of course end any of the other distractions that were bothering you secondarily.
If there is anyone present who can help you with the task of the kids or the cooking enlist their help. Let them know how you are feeling.” Sujai Johnston, https://www.facebook.com/groups/gentleparentsunite/
Find a Trick and Plan that Works Specifically for You
“I like to count down from 11 to -2 by 2s because it makes me think.” Andrea Nair, http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-nair-connect-four-parenting/20160608/a-to-z-of-taming-tantrums-y-is-for-yelling-less
I hope you find these tips helpful and if you feel like you need an extra boost and the support to follow through with your goal to stop yelling and have less stress and frustration in your home, I would love to help you with that. Register for the Stop Yelling in 21 Days Coaching Course. The next session begins soon!