If you are like me, then it’s likely you grew up in a generation in which yelling at kids and beating them within an inch of their life was considered ‘discipline.’ However, in modern times, psychologists are discovering how much damaging such severe punishment can cause.
Oftentimes, children who are yelled at, berated, and shamed grow into anxious, depressed, and people-pleasing messes, or end up with attachment issues. Not to mention the fact that yelling does not work, according to various experts. With all of that being said, you may likely be here because you are struggling with the urge to yell at your child. For those of us who grew up being yelled at, yelling at your child may feel like second nature.
But, there is another way. We are the ones responsible for breaking the generational curses that have plagued us for decades, and here is a good step in the right direction. Here are 5 ways to guide your child’s behavior without yelling.
1. Emotionally support your child.
Rather than getting upset when your child is getting upset, take a step back and empathize with them. Try to understand why they are acting the way they are: are they tired, hungry, scared, or feeling powerless? Behind every bad behavior is an emotion.
2. Give them the tools to help them work through difficult emotions.
Work with your child outside of bad situations, to help them understand what to do when they are upset. Examples are encouraging them to breathe when they are angry or to have a quiet and safe place for them to go when they feel overwhelmed. Other examples can be tapping techniques, or simply talking them through. “I understand you are angry. I know it’s uncomfortable, but it’s okay to be angry. I am here.”
3. Respond calmly, but with boundaries and consequences.
Yelling at your child will only make them more energetically fueled. When they get upset or act out, take a step back, and calmly, yet assertively explain the boundaries, expectations, and consequences of the situation.
4. Give one warning and then follow through.
When you are getting onto them, do not continue to repeat yourself. Not only will it make you angrier, but it is also only going to undermine your words. Say one warning and then follow through with consequences.
5. Praise positive behavior.
Don’t just focus on the bad moments. By encouraging good behavior, you are preparing them by expressing what you expect but in a way that reinforces good behavior.