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Get Kids to Listen Without Yelling
Picture this. Child screams and wails (in public, of course) You are HEATED. Butttt, you’re in public so you bite your tongue, grab your kid and hall your a*s out of there.
I get it. I know how hard it is to lean in and love when you want to lash out. Make them UNDERSTAND. Train and raise up arrows that aren’t arrogant.
Patience doesn’t come easy and certainly not by accident.
Patience OVER pressure.
I believe you can do that. You can overcome anger or whatever emotion that’s driving you nuts.
We’ve all made this mistake. Prioritizing priorities over presence. Being. Sprinting through motherhood instead of slowing down.
Let’s grow. Discover exactly how you can alter your actions, reframe your state of mind and get to the root of it all. (& Finally stop creating a female version hulk)
- Try and understand why you are yelling.
- Discover the triggers:
- have you eaten?
- did you have a bad encounter/receive unpleasant news?
- woke up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning?
Why You Yell
Which emotions are you feeling when you’re yelling?
Are you feeling:
- On and on…
Sometimes we yell when we feel misunderstood…
Do you feel unheard? Can yelling be your attempt to speak over others?
The best way not to yell is to avoid the circumstances which cause you to yell to happen in the first place.
This means being proactive about everyone needs in the family, taking care of all the demands of managing your home & making sure that priorities are scheduled in advance.
Aim for everything to move smoothly. You can plan your meals ahead of time. Meal prep some of those recipes. Organize or pick clothing for an entire week at a time instead of every evening.
Consider using an app where everyone can communicate and stay up to date on one family calendar. (I love Google calendar)
You want everyone on the same page so there are no surprises.
Be sure that each child’s attention needs are being met. Set aside some time every day to meet their energy threshold. One on one.
Clear Rules / Clear Boundaries
Set boundaries so that everyone understands their place in the family & what contributions are expected of them. It goes without saying that each child should respect these boundaries you put in place!
Tell Them What They Can and Can’t Do
Right now in my head I can hear my parents generation screaming at us because the fact of the matter is-
We are the parents, we’re right, their wrong and there’s nothing they can do about it.
My millennial mindset says WRONG. I don’t want to have countless, endless power struggles that are completely in vain when they can be avoided.
I’m not saying to never tell your children no. Yes, children need to hear no sometimes. They need to understand that the world will not feed them all the yes’s. However, in the confines of your home you can set boundaries where it’s sensible… to let them know what they can do instead of what they cant do.
For example, instead of saying-
No, don’t climb on that chair! or no don’t climb on the counter! or you can’t do that!
You can say:
Hey, you can ask Mommy or Daddy for help if you want to grab that off of the shelf.
Redirect their behaviors
In order to avoid kids continuing “bad” behaviors in an effort to get our attention, you’ll need to redirect their behavior.
When they do something you’re not happy about- offer them another alternative.
For example, if your child is playing outside and decides to eat the dirt….you might say:
No, you shouldn’t eat dirt that’s disgusting and you’re ruining the insects habitat. Let’s eat “this” instead.
- Don’t break your own rules
Some people may disagree because adults and children aren’t on the same level; however, I understand that children learn by example. They won’t listen to what you say. They’ll do what they see you do. So unless you want to bring stress on yourself from the backlash you’ll receive from your child-follow your own rules and allow your children to see you obeying those rules.
Be A Positive Example For Them
If you find that you aren’t following your rules or if they’ve seen you breaking your own rules then correct yourself.
Discuss & Explain Consequences
- Try to anticipate the rules that you believe your child may break
Then, create consequences accordingly to let your child be aware of those consequences before any said activity.
When your child doesn’t listen or before the the bad action, Give life lesson examples, consequences of not listening
Be positive when you can
- Always look for opportunities to be positive and upbeat and just plain happy! So your children can feel the same sensation of contentment from you to them.
*This helps with mindset and and self esteem*
Always Follow Through
- No bribes or expensive rewards charts
I think this goes without saying, but just in case it doesn’t- do not under any circumstance bribe your children! Leave this for cases borderline World War III LOL
For parents that use reward charts- It’s important to note that the rewards should NOT be expensive.
If they are, you risk your child not naturally learning the moral value in what you’re trying to teach them.
Because they just get an X or lose a star or don’t get a star or whatever it is… they still see said expensive item (among other things) on the chart still up for grabs. (Rendering your whole training useless. Whomp whomp)
- Effective timeouts
It’s important that the punishments fit the crime. Here’s a article to kickstart your reading- https://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/timeout/steps.html
- Only one warning
Only give ONE warning. Everytime. Every. Single. Time.
Ever see those parents that give their kids like 10 warnings?
That’s not gonna rock.
Your child is not a cat with 9 lives and you should only be giving one warning. If they disobey that warning- roll out the consequence. No if, ands, or buts about it!
Whenever you’re speaking to your child-whisper. Whispering forces our children to settle down and stay quiet so they can actually hear what we’re saying and this works best when paired with a crouching down position.
Get down on their level and speak to them. I use a soft, calm and even whisper voice in these cases.
- LISTEN to your child…first
Before you respond, listen to your child listen to hear their understanding of what happened
Allow them to say whatever it is they want to say without reservation. Don’t cut them off to correct- only listen.
As moms we tend to listen to respond immediately or to fix a situation. This is not the time or place for that. Listen to hear your child… to see them… to understand them.
- Respond don’t react
No matter what they tell you- do not react! Respond in a calm and simple manner as best you can. If you can’t or if you find that it’s too difficult- take a step away for a moment.
You can say-
- oh excuse me just for a sec, I need to use the bathroom
- I hear you. I need to step way for one minute and I’ll be right back.
And so on…
- Keep communication simple (KISS)
Keep it simple sister. You want to keep it simple with your littles. Don’t use big words or even a whole lot of words. Keep it short and sweet.
Use 1 Word phrases if possible so that you can ensure your kid is able to listen and effectively implement what it is you want them to do.
- Write a note
Talking can be tough sometimes and so is parenting. So, if there’s a situation where you feel completely overwhelmed to actually speak about it or if you feel that you’re filled with too much frustration you’re going to boil if you have to say it one.more.time….
Then, just go ahead and write a note. Pen it on paper. Hang it up, give it to your child directly, slip it under the door…it doesn’t matter as long as they see what it is you have to say.
- Verify kids understand
Consistently throughout your conversation, make sure that your little ones understand what you’re saying. So, basically, at every point during the conversation be alert for body cues that your child’s listening.
Also check that they understand by asking directly- do you understand what I am saying?
If they do- great! Ask them to rephrase what you were saying so you can be certain they understand.
We all know how infamous the “yes mommy” response is. They say they understand, when in fact they weren’t listening at all and have no idea what you’re talking about! (Oh is that just my kids? kmt cha LOL)
- Make sure kids aren’t ignoring or tuning out…..
how…. similar to what I mentioned above be sure that your kids are actually listening and understanding what you’re saying.
In order to make sure that they’re not ignoring you-
- use simple 1 Word phrases
- ask them to rephrase what you’ve said
- pay attention to body language (are they fidgeting, looking you in the eye? what position is there body in? are they facing you or facing away from you? so on and so forth.)
If you have a sensitive child or you have a child that battles with ADHD than it may be helpful for them to have some sort of small instrument, trinket, or fidget toy in their hand while you speak to them so they’re able to focus, if it helps.
Truly, It doesn’t matter what you say. It only matters how you say it. This is especially true if you have an HSC (highly sensitive child). Whether or not you believe or understand energy, the phases of the moon or whatever woo-woo topic is hot right now- the bottom line is:
Subconsciously and consciously we’re always processing tone and body language, first.
- Say it like you see it
I learned this technique in college (during my short time as a SPED ED major) This is so crucial and should be in every single parenting book!
It’s one of those common sense things that’s commonly overlooked.
**You want to describe the situation exactly as you see it**
Here’s one way to remember it: Code: RED
- Repeat what they say
- Explain what they are thinking & feeling
- Describe what your child is doing
You can foster a sense of understanding and show your child that you’re invested in them.
Because the obvious bare necessities like the electric bill, water, food etc easily go unnoticed. You’re providing…paying for it every month buuuuttttt they don’t see it.
- Encourage child to communicate
Ask them questions ask them if they have any questions.
And if you’re ever unsure just go with the “WH” questions.
Who was involved?
Where did it happen?
When did it occur?
Why do you think this turned out this way?
How do you feel and how can we make it better?
- Give simple explanations
(But not- “because I said so”)
Remember that your child is a little human being!
They’re a living person that came out of you and worthy of respect just as much as any other person on the planet.
This is your mini person. Treat them as such.
Don’t give sassy explanations.
If your child can comprehend what you’re saying, then share the reasoning. Actually, let me rephrase that. ALWAYS provide an explanation because every single child at any stage will understand. It’ll only look different for every stage.
But, it can be done.
For toddlers this may mean:
- using hand motions
- buddy gestures
- sign language for really small children
- one word phrases
- very short sentences
For older children:
You can explain as you see fit.
- in a simple succinct way that doesn’t give off too many details to be confusing
- straight to the point
- Be honest
When Your Child Doesn’t Listen
When they don’t listen or are outright disobedient- don’t take it personally. Sometimes it can be a developmental issue or their minds might simply be distracted.
TIP: If they are distracted, get down on your child’s level and ask them a simple (silly even) obvious question so that they turn their complete focus over to you.
(I.e. Am I looking up or down, pointing left or right? Etc.)
Remember that this isn’t a huge cause for concern because every single family struggles with this. It’s one of the many facets of parenting.
Children almost always disobey because they’re trying to test the limits and test the boundaries of how far they can go. To truly understand the limits you send in. And to test whether or not you’ll enforce those boundaries.
As a side note: always ask yourself whether what you’re asking them to do is within the limits of what they are capable of.
Understand Your Child
(literally, emotion, situation, personality, etc.)
Everything I’ve said here is worth nothing at all if you don’t understand your child’s personality and temperament.
Seriously flush it all down the toilet because children are not cookie cutter. You need to approach each child differently with this in mind.
Each response and method used will differ with every child.
- Give children choices
Children want to feel in control just as much as any parent. This is usually the root of most power struggles because parents inherently feel as if they are in control all the time or should be in control. When the truth is that no one is in control. Nor should anyone be. As parents, it’s a hard (& maybe fun?) job to give the illusion of choice.
So, instead of saying no to your child to one thing and saying yes to another, you can say- Hey would you like A or B? (& ideally these two choices are two options you are happy with no matter which one your child picks.) I mean that’s the whole point, rightt? That’s the beauty of it.
Calming Techniques for Mom and Child
- Breathe deeply
Please don’t dismiss the power of breathing deeply. It isn’t credited highly enough. Seriously breathing deeply can relieve body pains better than most NSAIDs.
- Remove yourself
If the sh*t has hit the fan then remove yourself for a moment. Step away. It’s ok and one of the best things you can do for yourself and your child.
Stop, make up any excuse (whatever excuse that sounds good to you at the moment) and let your child know you’ll be back in a few minutes.
- Count to ten
The sounds silly writing it down but, seriously, in the heat of the moment, this is a beautiful activity to do with your children so that they can see you in practice using calming techniques. In turn, it’s showing them what they can do and how they can react in situations that makes them feel frustrated or uneasy.
Simply get up & demand to countdown from 10 before you begin.
This is an anxiety technique I learned a few years ago. You can do this by yourself when you escape, or you can do it together before you even begin to jump and respond to the situation.
- 5- 5 things you can see
- 4- 4 things you can hear
- 3- 3 things you can touch
- 2- 2 things you can smell
- 1- one thing you can taste or want to taste
There are many variations to this technique. You can easily do a quick web search to find what you like best.
- Heartbeat hand breaths
I totally made up this name, but I learned this technique from a fellow friend who specializes in teaching children’s yoga and many calming methods.
It works like this: you open up the palm of your hand and with your child’s hand joined together…take your pointer finger and move it over your fingers, both up and down each finger. (A bit like those heartbeat monitor screens at the hospital)
You breathe in when you go up and breathe out when you go down. Breathe in calm, release negativity.
Continue that as many times as you need.
- Rinse face with cold water
There’s nothing like a good old classic body shock to alter your emotions.
- Eft tapping
Full disclosure here – this isn’t a practice that I perform daily and I’m still in the research phase as I just came upon this technique a few months ago.
I’ve tried it, but I’m still not yet convinced so, I’ll get back to you in a few months with this, but I wanted to include it anyway just for those who are learning research enthusiasts like myself or who are familiar with this technique already.
- Listen to music
Turn the music up! I’m talking blasted mama. Sing and dance, like it’s karaoke night to your heart’s content, Don’t stop till you guys are sweating and laughing and crying with giggles
- Knit or crochet
This is such a calming activity because you have to be uber focused when doing it. I remember years ago when I took up crocheting, and I would only do it when I was furious, and it’s one of the best and cheapest therapies I’ve found.
Actions speak louder than words, and sometimes words aren’t needed. Go ahead and hug your child and say nothing more 😉
- Pet cuddles
If you have a pet, especially a dog, this can be heart-warming. Seriously I’m convinced dogs were put here just to bring joy into people’s lives. I mean what other animal do you know of that is so inherently happy and darn willing to please you?!
This is one of my favorites. When you’re upset it’s really helpful. Buuttt, be super careful not to go crazy with the knife and go chop off a finger because you’re not paying attention while you’re dicing the fruits and veggies 🙀
- Journal: journal junkie ✔️
Bring on all the journals, paperweights, fancy covers, simple covers, pens, pencils, coloring pencils, markers crayons, paint brushes for all I care-it’s ALL welcome here. LOL
Everything is fair game in creative writing or creative drawing. Just put some sort of writing instrument in your hand, and have a clean canvas in front of you. Release!
- STOP METHOD/Technique
(calming method to reduce stress or anxiety)
- Stop what you are doing
- Take a deep breath
- Observe your thoughts and feelings without censoring
- Proceed with whatever you were doing before
Is Yelling Ever Okay?
Apologize & explain, express yourself. If you find that you do yell at your children, a simple apology will suffice to humble yourself and show your kids that even YOU, the parent, a grown-up can make mistakes.
No one is perfect, and that’s okay. Show your children that you can grow and learn from your mistakes. Feel free to explain express yourself as to why you believe you yelled.
Remember Your Place and Age
In the heat of the moment if all else fails, remember to tell yourself who YOU are. You’re a grown-a*s woman speaking to a 3,5,7,10 or 15-year-old (insert age here). The point is that they are younger than you. They are still children, and you are an adult…with so so much more experience and wisdom.
Parent From A Place of Gratitude
Every year, thousands of women suffer miscarriages. It’s a privilege to parent our littles. Change your words (& mindset!) from “I have to” to “I get to”
Have simple post-it reminder to remind yourself that it’s a privilege to be able to raise a child. To raise another living being and to take a part in that.
Human Tape Recorders
If it isn’t enough, remember that children are human tape recorders so proceed with caution lol
Act in accordance with the mom you aspire to be, not the mom you think you are. It’s so easy for a mum to believe the lies that we tell ourselves or hell sometimes it other people tell us trying to fulfill the boundless requests and demanding jobs that wear meant to to do naturally as if it ever comes naturally.
Use the STOP method above for your thoughts and move along telling yourself a new narrative and then acting in accordance with that narrative.
I don’t care if you believe that your entire past supports the lies that you’re not a “good mom” or you’re lazy or whatever other ridiculous things if told yourself.
Now, go tell yourself you are a call, loving, patient mom with a hell of A LOT of wisdom and understanding. And you can parent well.
Remind them that you love them no matter what and repeat it a thousand times more
Remember They Are Kids
Keep expectations low. Understand they are kids.
Accept your child for who they are and not who you want them to be.
They are a reflection of you and your spouse. If something is pressing on you that you dislike about your child’s behavior or habits, whatever.
Step back and take a good look at yourself and your other significant other. See if there’s any truth to what I’m saying here.
Their tendencies will almost always be your tendencies or any other person in their lives. So manage well. Don’t abandon self-care and if you do realize that there’s even a sliver of truth, please don’t be discouraged. Use it as a guide to work together to grow. It’s a humbling realization to uncover (seeing your child’s faults are due to your own). Real talk.
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