Many parents have experienced the guilt associated with yelling at their children, and it’s a common concern. The urge to yell can be challenging to overcome, but it’s possible to break this habit with a deliberate effort. Laura Markham, Ph.D., author of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting,” offers a five-step process to help parents stop yelling at their kids:
- Quit Yelling About Ordinary Stuff: Pay attention to your behavior and stop raising your voice over minor, everyday matters. Approach your children and talk to them in a regular speaking voice instead.
- Put Out Your Own Fire: Engage in daily introspection or meditation to help calm yourself in the heat of the moment. Meditation can help you learn to ignore distractions and be more present.
- Think Of a Safe Word: Develop a phrase or word to tell yourself when you realize you’re about to lose your temper. These self-soothing phrases can help you regain control.
- Get Close: Instead of resorting to consequences or lost privileges when children misbehave, focus on reconnecting with them. Get down to their level, put your arm around them, and express understanding of their feelings.
- Tone Down Those Trigger Moments: Identify situations or times when you’re more likely to yell, and consciously work on maintaining a calmer tone. Use humor and positive reinforcement to keep the atmosphere light and reduce tension.
By following these steps, you can gradually reduce the frequency of yelling and create a more peaceful and connected environment in your home. The key is to break the habit by rewiring your reactions and responses over time. This approach benefits both parents and children, fostering better communication and understanding.