How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids (with this 1 technique)
Ok guys, listen up! Mommy needs a time out! I have several mottos/mantras that I live by, especially, when it comes to parenting. Adult time outs are one of those beliefs for me. It’s for my well being and in all honesty, for my children’s well being. It’s that moment when you are absolutely going to lose it. I have had countless parents ask me “how do I stop yelling at my kids.” We have all done it. Even the calmest most gentle person I know has yelled at their child. It’s not something we are proud of. In fact we often feel horrible or guilty after we have done it. You know that awesome mommy guilt we feel. You can check out my post on mommy guilt here.
I started doing this one simple technique and I have used it with my clients as well. It has really helped me when I notice I am getting angry and about to yell at my boys. We all know about putting kids in time out but this is about putting ourselves in a time out. It’s in that moment when we feel we don’t have any control over ourselves or our kids! I walk away for a moment (if I can’t walk away, I close my eyes and take a couple deep breaths then follow the steps below). It helps me parent with a little bit of sanity and It will help you stop yelling at your kids.
How to be Less Angry
Kids want to feel heard, honestly, don’t we all? They feel they don’t have control over a situation or can’t express something. We don’t feel like we are in control over the situation and things begin to snowball. As parents, we are often in a rush (with good reason, may I add!) and think we don’t have the time. We feel like we are being pulled in all different directions.
Then we start yelling. The kids are more upset or worse scared. All this is happening while the message to your child that his feelings don’t matter and you don’t have time for him. I know… it’s not your intention. You feel like you don’t have any control. How would you like to have a simple technique to stop this from happening and stop yelling at your kids?
Give Yourself An Adult Time Out
When I notice my heart racing, temperature rising and my body getting tense, I know it’s time for an adult time out. I often joked with my friends about how I put myself in a time out instead of putting my kids in one. At first, they laughed at me. Now they use it! Call it what you want, “stepping away,” “mindful parenting,” or “an adult time out.” This can be extremely helpful in keeping your sanity while parenting.
We all need time outs at one point or another. We are so good at telling our kids to take a time out. Sometimes it’s better for us to take the time out. When you do this, you will be able to recognize a problem, calm down, think about different solutions and choose the best option. In essence, I am using a therapeutic technique called STOP. This is a technique to help someone respond rather than react. This is also a great way to teach our children how to handle difficult situations in a more manageable way. A great lesson for anyone, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I lose it at times! Don’t we all? A quick side note, if or shall I say…when, I have acted in a way that I regret, I apologize to my boys. APOLOGIZING to our children is so important. The thought of my boys growing up and not understanding the importance of apologizing is horrifying to me. We all know those people who refuse to apologize. I don’t want my boys to grow up like that.
Follow These 4 Steps
Follow these 4 steps and you can learn how to stop yelling at your kids.
First, Stop what you are doing. You want to learn to recognize your need for a time out, maybe it’s physical symptoms or the urge to yell. Find what yours is and stop. Second, Take a time out and Take a few deep breaths. If possible, remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t leave do your best to put yourself in a calm head space. Try closing your eyes while taking a few deep breaths. If you have a few extra minutes go to your “happy place” and visualize that place for a minute. This will help calm you down. Third, Observe your situation. What are you thinking and feeling? Put things in perspective once you have calmed down. Lastly, Proceed with the best possible solution. Think through different scenarios and Pick the best possible choice.
These are simple yet powerful steps. Not only will you stop yelling at your kids. You are learning how to be less angry. I promise it can change the course of your day!
How to use the STOP Technique
Here is a very simple example. One morning we were running behind, surprise, surprise! Not a surprise if you know me! (I am really trying to work on that.) I’ve asked my 2 older boys several times to “get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth!!!!” I’m getting frustrated. Then, my youngest son, starts going into a full blown tantrum. He is upset because I want to put a sweater on him before we leave the house. I know…how dare I try to keep him warm and prevent him from getting sick! It’s a pretty typical morning.
At this point, I am getting more frustrated after several requests to do usual morning tasks and my little guy is in full tantrum mode. My recognize my blood is starting to boil, I am tense, my heart is racing and I am ready to start screaming at all 3 boys. Nope, not this time, I STOP. I decide to take a time out. I step away for a couple minutes and take a few deep breaths to calm myself down.
Once I stepped away I was able recognize how I was feeling and what I was thinking. It was then, I realized I hadn’t slept well, we woke up late and were running behind. After all, the boys weren’t doing anything they don’t do almost every morning. My youngest son having a meltdown is NOTHING new. We call him our strong willed child.
But now what? What are my options? 1) I can continue to get upset and yell at them knowing it would definitely get worse. I can guarantee I would feel guilty for how I reacted. 2) I can walk back to the living room with a calm head knowing I am tired from lack of sleep and lack of preparation for the day. Choose to talk with the boys and do my best to get ready for the day.
In this example, just recognizing and understanding why I was going to lose it helped me. I walked back out, took a few more deep breaths and was able to let my youngest have his tantrum without me having a tantrum, ha! He just needed some time to settle down on his own.
In the meantime, I sat on the couch and spoke with my two oldest boys. I explained I was tired, we were running behind and I really needed them to help me by being good listeners and helpers. I also asked that each of them help me with a specific task. This is a little trick I use at times to make them feel “special” and my be my “big” helpers. I reminded them of what they needed to do. There was no yelling and no holding grudges. I always end with giving hugs and kisses. Last, we move on with the day.
So, what are some of the lessons I am teaching my boys? I am modeling how to identify feelings, identify a problem, problem solve and communicate effectively. When I have a time out I let my boys know what I did. I walk them through my steps, thoughts and feelings. This will help them when I use this same technique for them to calm down. I let them know I didn’t want to yell so I needed to walk away for a minute.
We ALL need time outs from time to time. It’s a great skill to have and to teach your kiddos. This is a great technique to use any time you feel like you are going to lose control, want to be less angry, and feel calm. Try it out and let me know what you think. If you have other tricks or tips let me know.