A Yelling Resolution
I was reading a little poll in an old Today’s Parent magazine. Even though it was from the December 2009 issue, I thought it would be interesting to post the poll and the results here:
“We asked: What do YOU want to do in 2010?
37% Yell less.
25% Be more active as a family.
14% Make more time for myself.
8% Spend more time with my kids.
6% Eat more dinners as a family.”
What this tells me is that a lot of us are struggling with a yelling addiction. (And the rest of the poll tells me that we’re feeling a serious time crunch in almost all areas of our lives…but that’s a discussion for another post.) So I thought I’d share some ideas for cutting back on the yelling, and even though 2018 is six weeks old, maybe it will help us get back on track with any resolutions we may have made last month, to get the new year off to a pleasant/relaxed/quiet start.
Let’s start by having a family meeting. There’s just nothing that can’t be helped with a family meeting! Talk about what happens when you yell — dollars to donuts your kids don’t like it any more than you do — and ask for their cooperation in cutting yelling out of your home, for everyone. If you’ve got some situations that typically lead to yelling, like getting out the door in the morning, or bedtime, or when the kids are fighting, use those specific examples to problem solve other ways to handle the situation. Let everyone take some responsibility for making the situation better, doing whatever they can to contribute to a sense of calmness and cooperation.
Plan ahead. If you need to get out the door at a certain time, well before your departure time, ask your kids for their cooperation and think about ways everyone can help to make things run smoothly. Knowing when you’re likely to blow up, whether that’s a certain time of day or when a specific situation occurs (or doesn’t), can make it easier for you to plan ahead for yourself with some strategies like being prepared, giving yourself lots of time, practicing deep breathing, or deciding what you will do.
And speaking of deciding what you will do… Too often, part of what we’re yelling is threats and punishments to kids who aren’t listening. The problem with this strategy is that if the yelling worked, you wouldn’t be looking to cut it out of your tool box. So, since trying to spur your kids to action by telling them what you’re going to do to them isn’t working, a better option might be to simply and calmly tell them what you’ll do yourself. Instead of, “If you don’t get out that door in the next 30 seconds, there will be no video games for the rest of the day!”, try, “At 8.00 I’m going to get in the car and take all of you to school. If you aren’t ready to go, I have faith that you’ll be able to make due for the day.” No raised voices required.
Naturally, it’s harder to keep the yelling and the temper under control when you’re stressed out, overtired, or in a similarly negative frame of mind. It’s important to take care of yourself and focus on being healthy, which sets a great example for your kids of how not to lose their cool, too. If you have a co-parent, don’t forget to rely on him or her to help when you’re about to explode; sometimes seeing your partner about to lose it gives us the ability to stay calmer ourselves and take over to avert a potentially loud response.
Here’s to a calm 2018!