Bec is a conscientious, involved mum. She is self-aware, a go-getter with a positive attitude and empathy in spades.
So during a session, when she tells me she’s screwing up her kids because she yells. I ask her some more questions. Turns out, she usually yells when she is at a loss for what to do. I think most of us can relate to that can’t we? You’ve asked your child to do something 4 times and the fifth time you’re like, “do it NOW!”
Bec shares she ends up berating herself, reminding herself of the article she read last month on the harmful effects of yelling.
So what’s hurting Bec and her children more – the yelling or what happens after she yells?
You’ll be surprised to know it’s not the yelling.
There’s a difference between controllable yelling and uncontrollable yelling. We are talking about the former here. (Research confirms, uncontrollable yelling has harmful effects to a child.)
Kids don’t need you to be perfect. You are not perfect, nor will you ever be perfect. However, when the after effects of yelling bring shame onto yourself that’s what does the most damage.
- Shame is usually a triggered response from an event or experience that happened in the past and has no bearing on the situation that is occurring right now.
- Shame on your own mistakes models to your child that he or she can’t make mistakes and forgive themselves.
- Shame keeps you stuck and stops you from exploring why the yelling is occurring in the first place.
“When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up, and say, ‘Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again’—my gut reaction is, ‘What a badass.’” Brene Brown
So, how to yell at your child?
- Be authentic – it is genuinely frustrating when your child doesn’t hear you. Allow your self to feel that frustration and not let it take over – this is a critical step in leading yourself.
- Practice humility – You are not always going to get parenting right, being able to admit when you stuff up is important.
- Audit – what is the reason for wanting to yell? What do you believe about your child not listening? Are your beliefs useful? For example a useful belief is, they didn’t hear because they are absorbed in what they are doing. And an useful belief is, they are being defiant or deliberately ignoring you. Try each of these beliefs on, which one puts you in the most useful state to respond?
- Own it – Children need a parent who owns their emotions without needing to blame it on everything and everyone else. If you figured out the root cause in the audit, own it and share it with your child. If you don’t know what the root cause is, own that you don’t know, with your child. Children then don’t make up their own stories or develop their own belief for why you are upset.
- Be compassionate – yes you yelled. If you’re regularly doing steps 1 to 4 and you still yelled, be compassionate and forgive yourself, you’re human.
Bec does steps 1-4 regularly.
Sometimes all you need is some self-compassion and to forgive yourself.
PS – Whenever you are ready, here are four ways I can help you thrive as a parent:
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