Parenting can be one of the most rewarding responsibilities we ever take on. With that, however, comes the ups and downs of getting children to comply with what we say while being pulled in a thousand different directions. It’s no wonder why parents often resort to yelling when begging and threats are no longer effective. And while yelling is generally the result of needing things done urgently or when the parent feels disrespected, it is unproductive. This approach scares children and makes the parent feel guilty. To more effectively get children to comply, parents should first know their triggers and then plan to parent more calmly.
It’s often difficult for parents to stop and think about the long-term damage yelling may be causing in the heat of the moment. Not only does it model an ineffective conflict resolution strategy to the child, but it also makes everyone feel bad and rarely reduces the behavior. Because children have sensitive nervous systems, yelling can create more anxiety and lead to more difficulty developing healthy coping skills. And yes, yelling may work initially, but gradually children begin to tune it out, and it may even cause the unwanted behavior to continue or even worsen. What parents must remember is that yelling isn’t a form of communication. As parenting author L.R. Knost stated, “Yelling silences your message. Speak quietly so your children can hear your words instead of just your voice.”
For parents to take a calm parenting approach all the time, it’s essential to have specific knowledge about themselves and their children and then implement a plan.
1) Understand Normal Behavior: As children go through different stages of development, some behaviors are more typical at certain ages. Knowing these can help parents feel that the behavior is less personal and just part of the age.
2) Know Your Triggers: Parents go through a lot each day and can get overwhelmed. Being mindful of your “triggers,” such as being tired, can help you mindfully prepare. As you monitor how often you raise your voice, you will become more aware of stopping it.
3) Implement a Plan: The best approach is to plan for days that may be more challenging. But the days that are still a struggle show yourself some compassion while also alerting your children and even taking a timeout for yourself.
When parenting involves a proactive approach, yelling decreases, compliance increases, and the parent-child bond strengthens. The Gentle East Martial Arts Center offers a supplemental parenting course designed to help parents approach their children in a calmer yet effective way. All eight of the Parent SKILLZ lessons lay the foundation for the best parenting outcome. When implemented correctly, yelling will become a thing of the past resulting in a more cooperative child and a healthier way to communicate.
The calm approach to parenting requires a lot of practice, and the awareness of our triggers can be painful at first, especially when they come from unresolved issues from our past. However, the ability to exhibit self-control during tense parenting moments can model more appropriate coping mechanisms, send a more effective message to the child, and create healthier communication between parent and child.
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Author: Jennifer Salama of Skillz Worldwide.
Jennifer is a 4th-degree black belt and has been training in martial arts since 2001. She has a Master’s Degree in Child Psychology and has embraced the SKILLZ curriculum because of its focus on child development and using martial arts as a vehicle to develop the child as a whole.