Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Printed from chabad.org
All Departments
Jewish Holidays
TheRebbe.org
Jewish.TV - Video
Jewish Audio
News
Kabbalah Online
JewishWoman.org
Kids Zone
Contact Us
Visit us on Facebook
Help! I've got kids...

How Not to Yell at Your Kids

How Not to Yell at Your Kids

E-mail

Yelling Comes Naturally

No one has to teach parents how to yell – it seems that this behavior comes naturally to so many of us. When we accidentally touch the hot handle of a frying pan, we yell. When a child refuses to listen, we yell. It just wells up from inside – unless, of course, we choose to put a lid on it.

In order not to yell, we have to find unnatural solutions to parenting pain and frustration. We have to take care of ourselves as well as our kids. It's not healthy for us to stuff our upset deep inside where it can fester; it's sure to cause us physical and/or psychological harm later on and it may also lead to some very nasty parenting when it finally erupts like Mount Vesuvius. If our children's behavior disappoints us, irritates us, enrages us or frightens the daylights out of us, we need to spend time with ourselves processing those feelings. We may also need to spend time with others (spouse, mom, friends, rabbi, counselors etc) to fully resolve our feelings and devise an appropriate parenting plan. Our emotions are ours to deal with. They are completely separate from our parenting interventions. Or at least, they ought to be.

We've Got Twenty Years to Figure This Out

Realizing that we can step out of a parenting moment to take care of ourselves can be quite liberating for parents. Unless the child is standing in the middle of traffic, there is generally no emergency occurring that requires our immediate action. Children fight. They've usually been fighting for several minutes before a parent enters the scene, so they can fight a few more minutes while the parent takes a moment to calm herself down before opening her mouth up. Children don't listen. Since they're not cooperating anyways, there's no harm in Dad taking a few minutes or even a few hours to figure out how he wants to handle the situation. Children don't go to bed. Instead of wasting precious time trying to get them there, parents can turn to each other for support and brainstorming over a nice cup of chamomile tea.

In other words, there is no rush. You've got twenty years to raise a child. Better to slow down and figure out what you can do that might actually be productive and healthy for all of you instead of rushing in impulsively to quickly "fix" whatever seems to be the trouble. These quick fixes all too often involve anger – both on the part of parents and kids. Angry parents do poor parenting and cause lots of harm. Stepping out of the parenting moment allows parents to calm their upset before they try to create a solution to a parenting problem. The solutions that they create once calm, are much more likely to be successful, enduring fixes. Those created in the heat of the moment usually solve a behavioral problem for only that moment while creating an emotional problem for a lifetime.

Alternative Strategies

So a parent has stepped out – to cry, journal, consult, eat chocolate, meditate or otherwise settle her nerves. Now she is ready to create an anger-free parenting intervention to address the situation before her. What are her choices?

First, she needs to review the foundation of her parenting plan – the 80-20 Rule. When the parent gives 80% positive attention (that is, 4 out of 5 good-feeling communications), kids are more cooperative. Period. (It's important to count all instructions and requests as "bad-feeling" communications when you perform this calculation for yourself. See my parenting book for a detailed explanation of this intervention.) No matter what is going wrong with the child's current behavior, the parent needs to check where he or she is in his or her daily parenting ratio and make adjustments as necessary.

The parent may then choose from a variety of interventions in order to address the specific issue at hand. Emotional Coaching – the naming of a child's feelings – will usually be involved before any other technique is employed. This creates a bond that fosters cooperation and allows a child to submit more gracefully to punishment when it is required.

Depending on the issue, the CLeaR Method of positive discipline may be appropriate. To apply the CLeaR Method, a parent asks herself, "What behavior do I want from this child?" The parent then waits for that behavior to occur or creates an opportunity for it to occur and then Comments on it, Labels it and temporarily Rewards it. For instance, a toddler has been hurting his baby brother by slapping him on the head. Mom takes the toddler's hand and helps him to gently stroke the baby. As she does so, she comments: "You're touching the baby so softly now." She labels: "You're being so gentle." She rewards: "I think you deserve a candy for being so gentle with your baby brother." (The reward will only happen the first few times that the desirable behavior occurs and then it will be rapidly "thinned out.")

It is also possible that the behavior in question requires more traditional "bad-feeling" discipline. In this case, the anger-free discipline strategy called the Two-Times Rule can be employed. In this method, the negative consequence does all the teaching and parental emotion is not employed at all.

Finally, in cases of rudeness, parents may want to use the intervention called The Relationship Rule – a series of steps that teaches a child how to control himself when he is upset (a skill that begins with parental modeling!). More information about each of these parenting strategies is available and hopefully, we'll also explore them more in depth, in future articles.

These 5 skills will see a parent through any parenting issue that presents itself over the two decades of raising a child. They not only replace yelling and other destructive interventions but they help ensure that children will maintain life-long loving relationships with their parents.


Sarah Chana Radcliffe is the author of The Fear Fix, Make Yourself at Home and Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice. Visit her parenting page or access her teleclasses.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
1000 characters remaining
Email me when new comments are posted.
Sort By:
Discussion (3)
July 24, 2011
Mom in need!
I have been battling with this very issue since I have got my two older children back from living with their father. I have been yelling and crying more at my children then ever before, I am trying to get then used to having rules again but was only met with rejection and pain! Every moment of parenting is new to me and want to succeed as a mother and friend! I feel like giving up at times but know that my babies won't be mine forever and I don't want to miss out on because I as mom don't understand my child and end up yelling instead loving!!!!! Thank you for the words of wisdom and I plan to rake them to heart!
Anonymous
Flagstaff, AZ
August 20, 2008
Excellent!
Thank you for this good and practical advice. I will certainly try it!
Tzipporah
August 19, 2008
How I wish MY parents had read this!
I think your advice is wonderful and I wish all parents would step out of the anger of the moment to reflect on what really needs to happen.
Gayla
WA
Just about every career requires prior course training, and often some work-related experience.

Becoming a parent can be one of the most responsible positions we undertake, yet most of us do so unprepared and without any prior knowledge.

What makes your child tick? How can you learn to communicate better so your child will listen? Dealing with bedtime fights? Teaching gentleness? Arranging allowances and chores?

With a rotating roster of parenting and educational experts, these and more issues will be covered in this hands-on parenting blog.



Submit your parenting question to our panel of experts by clicking here.






Sarah Chana RadcliffeSarah Chana Radcliffe is the author of The Fear Fix, Make Yourself at Home and Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice. Visit her parenting page or access her teleclasses.
This page in other languages
FEATURED ON CHABAD.ORG