How to stop shouting at your parents

Arun Sharma

Written For ParentCircle Website new design update

Sometimes, parents are unable to keep themselves calm and resort to yelling. Are you one such parent? Then, read this article to understand how to stop yelling at your child.

How to stop shouting at your parents

Dealing with children requires a lot of patience and tact. However, sometimes, overwhelmed by the situations children create, parents resort to yelling. Surprisingly, most of the time, with younger children, yelling tends to produce positive results. This encourages parents to yell when facing a similar situation again. And, when parents keep giving in to the temptation to yell, they develop the habit of yelling. This can cause a lot of trauma to the child and, sometimes, even trigger aggressive behaviour in the child.

So, if you have the habit of yelling at your child (even if it is only occasionally), here are some of the things you can do to put an end to the habit.

1. Find out the reasons: There are many reasons why parents resort to yelling at their kids. So, indulge in a little bit of brainstorming and find out what triggers you to yell. Is it because your child is not paying attention to what you say? Is it because he is defiant? Do you tend to yell after you return tired from work? Is it because your parents resorted to yelling at you while you were a child? Once you know the reasons that make you yell, take steps to keep such situations at bay.

2. Take a time-out: This is also one of the easiest things to do. Whenever you feel like your child is testing your patience and you are about to burst out, walk away from the scene. This will allow your anger to subside and give you the opportunity to think about how to tackle the situation in a different way. Once you have calmed down, come back and talk to your child. Tell him that his behaviour is unacceptable and explain what he should do to correct his habit.

3. Instil discipline and responsibility: If you find that issues related to discipline are the triggers that make you yell, go ahead and talk with your child. Set clear rules and ask your child to follow them. Also, set the consequences for not following the rules. So, the next time she breaks a rule, instead of resorting to yelling, you can follow through with the consequences.

4. Bring in some fun and humour: Try to resolve situations that incite your anger in a humorous way. This also puts the individual you are dealing with at ease and makes her more amenable to redirection. For example, if your young one is refusing to eat, you can playfully tell him to assume that he is an elephant. And then you can ask him to open his mouth and eat like an elephant. Or, you can say ‘Open Sesame’ for him to open and when you pop in a spoonful of food, you can say ‘Close Sesame’.

5. Do a reality check: Are you a perfectionist? Are you expecting your child to act in a perfect manner? Sometimes, your child not being able to meet the high standards you expect from him may also cause you to yell. So, step back and think if you are expecting too much from your child.

6. Speak softly: Over a period, yelling becomes a habit, and then, even in the normal course of a conversation, you tend to speak in a loud voice. So, teach yourself to speak softly, and with time, you will learn to speak in a low voice.

For parents who yell, it is important to remember that their child will also learn to yell; this is because a child considers his parents his role models. So, start yourself off on the path to putting an end to the habit of yelling right away. However, to end the article on a funny note, don’t hesitate to give a shout when you are happy. A whoop of joy can spread love all around!

How to stop shouting at your parents

It’s late at night, the TV is on, but I don’t even know what is showing. Everyone is asleep except for me. I am just wallowing in guilt. I know my husband is worried about a million things. So am I.

I know my children are feeling our anxiety, but they soldier on with their usual antics. It’s exasperating having to be the referee, tutor, cook, cleaner, mother, and more. I feel terrible for spending the last few minutes of today screaming at them. Not just telling them things about what they should and should not do, but also saying hurtful things that I don’t really mean.

I heard them crying before bed and their dad shushing them to sleep. And now that everyone is dreaming away, I am wide awake, riddled with guilt.

This could be you or me. It could be any of us. Who hasn’t felt overwhelmed? Who hasn’t yelled at their children when they were misbehaving? Who hasn’t felt so angry or frustrated they had to scream? Who hasn’t shouted out things they immediately regretted?

We can give ourselves a “pass” and say, “Everyone does it.” But that does not really help the situation. Some parents might even tell themselves, “Better to shout than to spank.”

The most common reason for parents to yell is anger, which often has built up from feeling that we are not being listened to or respected. But parents often also shout when they feel overwhelmed or are stressed. Their patience has been worn thin by misbehavior, even though it may not be intentional or that bad.

Feeling embarrassed also causes parents to “lose it.” For example, when children hurt others or throw tantrums in public or in the company of others, parents feel it is a reflection on their parenting and instinctively try to compensate by raising their voices.

How to stop being a yelling mom

When you shout at your young children, the first thing you notice is their fear. How they stop what it is they are doing, some will even cry. And while you think it’s a quick and effective way to get them to do your will, once they grow older and become desensitized to the sound of your yelling, you will find it harder to keep using this technique. They will eventually learn to tune you out, no matter how loud you get.

Some parents don’t realize that it’s a form of emotional abuse when they pepper their yelling with insults, bad words, and threats. The effects can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem, or even aggression in kids.

Growing up, how would you feel being constantly yelled at with, “Kung hindi ka titigil, sasampalin na kita” or “Huwag kang tatanga-tanga!”

Here are some things we can do to avoid yelling.

Take care of yourself

If you are like me, it’s when you are puyat or gutom that you quickly lose your temper. So make sure you sleep well, eat right, and do some form of physical activity or exercise.

Also, allow yourself little treats or breaks when you can just enjoy time either on your own or chat with friends. Feeling good about yourself will lessen the chances of getting easily frustrated.

Explore your yelling triggers

Do a self-examination and find out when it is you often lose control. For example, is it when everyone needs to get ready for work and school at the start of the day? Or at the end of the day when you’re all tired? Or is it in the middle of the day when you are working and just about ready to turn in your report?

What do you usually shout about? And what actions can you do instead? For example, if you are screaming because children aren’t waking up for school on time, then alarm clocks, shutting off the aircon earlier, or playing music might work. One of my students said her mom sends the dog in to wake her up in the morning.

Move closer to your child

You’re thinking, “Huh?” Sometimes the reason children, especially young ones, do not respond to our requests is because they don’t hear or understand what we want. Moving closer, crouching down to their level, so that you are face to face with them, and talking clearly and calmly can be very effective. It sure beats shouting from across the room to the back of a preoccupied child.

Nurture teamwork

Talk to your family about how you want to try not to yell so much. Say how it makes you feel. Ask them to share how shouting makes them feel, too. Then get everyone on board to help “keep the peace.”

The most enormous help is your spouse. Take cues from each other. When you see your hubby is losing his cool, you can “tap in” and vice versa.

Try these scripts when you know they can develop into a yelling episode.

“O, Daddy is getting mad na. Come on, stop fighting over that toy. Let’s put it away until you are ready to share.”

“Mommy is tired already, why don’t we go to bed and I’ll read a short story.” It does wonders, not just for the kiddos but also for the marriage.

How to model behavior

When you model behavior for your children, you make a conscious effort to show them what you want them to copy. Part of what you want them to see is it’s not always easy to be in control and that it takes effort. But, you also want them to learn that they are part of the solution.

Try these three steps to avoid yelling and model behavior.

“Naiinis na ako…” or “I’m starting to get mad…” are your warning signs to them.

Then, follow it with an act that shows how you are trying to control your anger: “Iinom muna ako ng tubig,” or “I’m going to take deep breaths.”

Then round it up with: “Tulungan mo naman ako, anak. ” or “You can help me…” Then let them know what you need them to do.

Look at these samples of yelling and modeling

Yelling: Pagod na pagod na ako! Away pa rin kayo nang away! Ang titigas ng mga ulo niyo! Ayoko na!

Modeling: Naiinis na ako. Bibilang muna ako — 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Sana hindi na kayo magaway para makapag-family movie night na tayo.

Yelling: I am so fed up with this! All you do is fight. You are both so stubborn and annoying. I am sick of this!

Modeling: I am starting to lose my temper, so I’m going to breathe. When I feel better, you can help me by being quiet for a bit and staying on separate sides of the room. Understood?

In the Philippines, shouting or yelling at children seems to be a natural course of parenting. It’s depicted in our komiks, teleseryes, movies, and even memories passed down from generation to generation.

While it may seem like a “normal” way to parent, it doesn’t take away from the fact that when we do it, we feel terrible after. And if something you do makes you and your children feel bad, then it’s only sensible to try something else.

Barbara Server-Veloso is known as Teacher Thumby at her preschool, Toddlers Unlimited, and Ms. Thumby at her grade school, Thinkers Unlimited, Alabang. She is also a partner in Spark Discovery Center, where she teaches the Baby and Me Class. Teacher Thumby has a Master’s degree from the University of the Philippines in Family Life and Child Development. She has been teaching since 1993. She is also the mother of Lucas and Verena.

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Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.

How to stop shouting at your parents

Altrendo Images / Getty Images

If you are a parent, you’ve probably lost your temper with your kids and have yelled at them at some point. We parents are only human, and kids can sometimes be really good at pushing our buttons and challenging us with behavior problems such as defiance and backtalk.

Yelling and losing our cool, in other words, can sometimes happen. But if yelling is an all-too-frequent occurrence in your home, it may be time for you to take stock of what’s going on and consider some alternative ways to communicate with your child.

Reasons Yelling Is Not Effective

There are several reasons why yelling is not an ideal form of discipline and is, in fact, a common discipline mistake. The most important thing to ask yourself is what your child is learning when he is disciplined in this manner, and how he may be affected by being yelled at regularly. Here are some reasons why you may want to lower your voice and calm down before you discipline your child.

It Tells Kids That Aggression Is OK

Raising your voice may get your child’s attention in the immediate term, but it’s important to think about what yelling is teaching your child. When you raise your voice, your child learns that aggression is an acceptable way to communicate.

Just as spanking your child will teach her that hitting is a good way to discipline, your child will see yelling as something you should do to get your point across when there is a problem or a conflict.

Yelling Loses Its Effectiveness

Will yelling get your child’s attention in the short term? Yes. But here’s the thing: Raising your voice all the time can dull the effectiveness of yelling or using a firm tone of voice later on. It’s akin to someone crying wolf all the time; eventually, you would tune it out. By raising your voice regularly, you are creating a situation where your child will be less likely to listen to you.

It’s Not Respectful

How would you feel if your boss yelled at you when you made a mistake? What if your partner or a friend or family member spoke to you in this way during a fight? Would you feel defensive and hurt and angry or would you feel more inclined to hear what he or she was saying?

No matter what the person is trying to say, odds are you will be more inclined to hear that person out and really think about what is being said to you if you are treated with respect and spoken to in a cordial manner.

Your Child Will Retreat or Become Angry

Human beings have a natural reaction to being yelled at. We either retreat or respond in anger. These are the reactions you will get from your child when you lose your cool, and whether or not your child’s behavior is corrected, you should ask yourself if it’s worth the price.

You Losing Control of Your Own Emotions

Disapproval, disappointment, and displeasure: those are pretty powerful weapons in a parent’s discipline arsenal. But yelling shows your child that you are not in control–something you definitely do not want when you are asserting authority.

Yelling May Be More Harmful Than We Think

Recent research has shown that yelling may be as harmful as spanking. (Some parents, of course, choose to spank, but many experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, do not support spanking and point to research showing the negative effects of corporal punishment, especially when parents hit kids in anger.)

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that using harsh verbal discipline, which includes shouting, cursing, or using insults, may be just as damaging to kids as hitting them. They found that kids who had experienced harsh verbal discipline from parents were more likely to be depressed or exhibit antisocial or behavioral problems.​

Alternative Strategies

So how do we stop yelling, and what can we do instead to convey our unhappiness when kids misbehave? Here are some strategies to try:

Give Yourself a Time Out

When you find yourself losing your cool, take a few minutes (15, 20, or more–whatever it takes) to calm down and do something else. Then, you can revisit the problem when you can clearly explain to your child what you want her to do differently the next time and what the consequences will be if she does not follow your instructions.

(For example, if she didn’t set the table after you asked her to do it 5 times, explain to her that she will set the table right away the next time; if she does not listen, she will have to clear it and help load the dishwasher, too.) Taking time to calm yourself down is a great way to discipline with a Zen attitude.

Make It Easier for Them to Not Fail

Try to see things from your child’s point of view. If you ask him to do something while he’s in the middle of a video game or show you gave him permission to play or watch, it’s likely he won’t respond right away; give him a 10-minute heads up and let him know you want him to stop soon.

If he resorted to lying about something, find out why he did what he did before you react in anger. If he’s prone to dawdling, come up with ways to help him speed things up. In other words, set your child up to behave and figure out what went wrong when he doesn’t.

List the Things Your Child Does Right

The next time you are angry with your child, try this exercise: List all the things she does right. You can do this in your head while you’re cooling off. Then, when it comes time to sit down and talk to your child about her behavior and what you expect her to do to fix it, you can also tell your child about all the things you think she is great at doing, and why you expect her to be able to do better next time.

Speak Gently to Maximize Your Impact

Once you have calmed down, sit down with your child and ask him for his full attention. Speak in a calm and clear manner (and keep it short for younger kids) and tell him why you are unhappy with his behavior and what you would like him to do differently going forward. Just as you would teach your child good manners by using those manners yourself, the way you speak to your child will be the way your child speaks to you.

Never Insult Your Child or Use Curses

Whatever the behavior problem is or how frustrating it may be, remember that words can be a very powerful tool that can easily become a weapon. Just as you can build a child’s confidence with encouragement, you can tear her down with insults or curses. Be very aware of what you say to your child as well as how you say it.

Arun Sharma

Written For ParentCircle Website new design update

Sometimes, parents are unable to keep themselves calm and resort to yelling. Are you one such parent? Then, read this article to understand how to stop yelling at your child.

How to stop shouting at your parents

Dealing with children requires a lot of patience and tact. However, sometimes, overwhelmed by the situations children create, parents resort to yelling. Surprisingly, most of the time, with younger children, yelling tends to produce positive results. This encourages parents to yell when facing a similar situation again. And, when parents keep giving in to the temptation to yell, they develop the habit of yelling. This can cause a lot of trauma to the child and, sometimes, even trigger aggressive behaviour in the child.

So, if you have the habit of yelling at your child (even if it is only occasionally), here are some of the things you can do to put an end to the habit.

1. Find out the reasons: There are many reasons why parents resort to yelling at their kids. So, indulge in a little bit of brainstorming and find out what triggers you to yell. Is it because your child is not paying attention to what you say? Is it because he is defiant? Do you tend to yell after you return tired from work? Is it because your parents resorted to yelling at you while you were a child? Once you know the reasons that make you yell, take steps to keep such situations at bay.

2. Take a time-out: This is also one of the easiest things to do. Whenever you feel like your child is testing your patience and you are about to burst out, walk away from the scene. This will allow your anger to subside and give you the opportunity to think about how to tackle the situation in a different way. Once you have calmed down, come back and talk to your child. Tell him that his behaviour is unacceptable and explain what he should do to correct his habit.

3. Instil discipline and responsibility: If you find that issues related to discipline are the triggers that make you yell, go ahead and talk with your child. Set clear rules and ask your child to follow them. Also, set the consequences for not following the rules. So, the next time she breaks a rule, instead of resorting to yelling, you can follow through with the consequences.

4. Bring in some fun and humour: Try to resolve situations that incite your anger in a humorous way. This also puts the individual you are dealing with at ease and makes her more amenable to redirection. For example, if your young one is refusing to eat, you can playfully tell him to assume that he is an elephant. And then you can ask him to open his mouth and eat like an elephant. Or, you can say ‘Open Sesame’ for him to open and when you pop in a spoonful of food, you can say ‘Close Sesame’.

5. Do a reality check: Are you a perfectionist? Are you expecting your child to act in a perfect manner? Sometimes, your child not being able to meet the high standards you expect from him may also cause you to yell. So, step back and think if you are expecting too much from your child.

6. Speak softly: Over a period, yelling becomes a habit, and then, even in the normal course of a conversation, you tend to speak in a loud voice. So, teach yourself to speak softly, and with time, you will learn to speak in a low voice.

For parents who yell, it is important to remember that their child will also learn to yell; this is because a child considers his parents his role models. So, start yourself off on the path to putting an end to the habit of yelling right away. However, to end the article on a funny note, don’t hesitate to give a shout when you are happy. A whoop of joy can spread love all around!

How to stop shouting at your parents

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Parents, STOP YELLING at the games!

(By Guest Contributor Michael McArdle)

We’ve all yelled at various times at our kid’s sporting events. Whether it’s shouting out instructions, barking at the referees or screaming words of encouragement. Yelling can be a powerful tool that produces a desired result….if used correctly. If not, yelling can actually stand in the way of getting the outcome you want. How do you know when yelling is useful and when it is not?

Yelling works in an environment where the noise level is already high (think of a loud stadium or arena). In order to be heard above a din, yelling is often required.

If the goal is to produce action in lieu of thought, yelling works. We call this “reactive conditioning.” The goal is for the person to comply or act immediately, without pausing to think.

When someone is yelled at, the body produces a spike in cortisol, an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands. One of the negative side effects of this surge is impaired cognitive performance. In effect, the structured thinking skills of the brain begin shutting down as cortisol floods the body. On the plus side, our hearing and vision ability increases and our memory sharpens during this same period. This is the onset of “fight or flight.”

In the military, new cadets are run through training in “boot camp.” This training is replete with continuous episodes of yelling commands and directives. The idea is to remove thought and produce action that becomes automatic, or instinctive. On the battle field, a thinking soldier is a dead soldier. With spiked levels of cortisol, the brain is capable of remembering details and specific movements that eventually lead to a level of performance called “automaticity” – movement that requires almost no thought.

In a similar manner, when law enforcement engages suspected criminals, they shout in order to gain immediate compliance without allowing a suspect to organize their thoughts. It is purely an intimidation effort designed to create the chaos needed to gain the upper hand in a potentially violent or dangerous situation.

Imagine a parent watching their child crawl across the floor and then stopping at an uncovered electrical outlet. If the child attempts to insert something into the socket, how would a parent respond? Certainly not by explaining the potential dangers of electricity. They would yell! In the face of imminent danger, shouting often produces instant reactions. Yelling works in this situation.

Yelling in improper situations won’t yield the same success. If the goal is to “teach” someone, thereby moving them towards new thoughts and behaviors, we can ensure failure by yelling. This is known as “anger” yelling. It is borne out of frustration. What makes “anger” yelling so dangerous is that both parties (the yeller and the yelled at) have a physiological build up (and sustaining) of cortisol in the system gearing them towards confrontation.

The illogic of expecting someone to think critically in new ways, to activate the structured thinking skills that allow for improved reasoning, while creating the very environment that shuts down that portion of the brain is mind-numbing in and of itself.

Knowing this, why would parents and coaches ever shout at kids during a game? We yell because we demand control in environments that do not allow for complete control. We lose control of our emotions due to the fact we feel we have lost external control of others. The problem here is that our sense of control is a complete illusion to begin with. Nowhere is this in evidence more than in youth sports where parents plead, cajole, praise, demand, and unfortunately, sometimes embarrass their child with their out of control behavior.

What most parents don’t realize though is children do not comply because of the yelling, they do so to make the yelling go away. “I will do it if it means you will shut up and go away!” We can try to control others. We can make them afraid, we can negotiate, we can even offer bribes, but at the end of the day our control is simply others deciding to acquiesce (for good or bad reasons, depending on how we’ve tried to gain their compliance).

Ultimately, the goal of communication is to produce changes in thinking and behavior. Yelling accomplishes the latter but not the former. Ultimate change in behavior that is long-lasting, must be preceded by a change in thought. Keep in mind the next time you feel frustrated and decide you can influence performance by yelling, you have become the impediment to change – not the cause of it.

(Michael McArdle is a Learning Research Specialist and the former Executive Director of the non-profit Learning Patterns Corporation. He writes, lectures, and conducts workshops on a variety of subjects dealing with the development of the human mind.)

How to stop shouting at your parents

  • 390 shares
  • 388
  • 2

Parents, STOP YELLING at the games!

(By Guest Contributor Michael McArdle)

We’ve all yelled at various times at our kid’s sporting events. Whether it’s shouting out instructions, barking at the referees or screaming words of encouragement. Yelling can be a powerful tool that produces a desired result….if used correctly. If not, yelling can actually stand in the way of getting the outcome you want. How do you know when yelling is useful and when it is not?

Yelling works in an environment where the noise level is already high (think of a loud stadium or arena). In order to be heard above a din, yelling is often required.

If the goal is to produce action in lieu of thought, yelling works. We call this “reactive conditioning.” The goal is for the person to comply or act immediately, without pausing to think.

When someone is yelled at, the body produces a spike in cortisol, an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands. One of the negative side effects of this surge is impaired cognitive performance. In effect, the structured thinking skills of the brain begin shutting down as cortisol floods the body. On the plus side, our hearing and vision ability increases and our memory sharpens during this same period. This is the onset of “fight or flight.”

In the military, new cadets are run through training in “boot camp.” This training is replete with continuous episodes of yelling commands and directives. The idea is to remove thought and produce action that becomes automatic, or instinctive. On the battle field, a thinking soldier is a dead soldier. With spiked levels of cortisol, the brain is capable of remembering details and specific movements that eventually lead to a level of performance called “automaticity” – movement that requires almost no thought.

In a similar manner, when law enforcement engages suspected criminals, they shout in order to gain immediate compliance without allowing a suspect to organize their thoughts. It is purely an intimidation effort designed to create the chaos needed to gain the upper hand in a potentially violent or dangerous situation.

Imagine a parent watching their child crawl across the floor and then stopping at an uncovered electrical outlet. If the child attempts to insert something into the socket, how would a parent respond? Certainly not by explaining the potential dangers of electricity. They would yell! In the face of imminent danger, shouting often produces instant reactions. Yelling works in this situation.

Yelling in improper situations won’t yield the same success. If the goal is to “teach” someone, thereby moving them towards new thoughts and behaviors, we can ensure failure by yelling. This is known as “anger” yelling. It is borne out of frustration. What makes “anger” yelling so dangerous is that both parties (the yeller and the yelled at) have a physiological build up (and sustaining) of cortisol in the system gearing them towards confrontation.

The illogic of expecting someone to think critically in new ways, to activate the structured thinking skills that allow for improved reasoning, while creating the very environment that shuts down that portion of the brain is mind-numbing in and of itself.

Knowing this, why would parents and coaches ever shout at kids during a game? We yell because we demand control in environments that do not allow for complete control. We lose control of our emotions due to the fact we feel we have lost external control of others. The problem here is that our sense of control is a complete illusion to begin with. Nowhere is this in evidence more than in youth sports where parents plead, cajole, praise, demand, and unfortunately, sometimes embarrass their child with their out of control behavior.

What most parents don’t realize though is children do not comply because of the yelling, they do so to make the yelling go away. “I will do it if it means you will shut up and go away!” We can try to control others. We can make them afraid, we can negotiate, we can even offer bribes, but at the end of the day our control is simply others deciding to acquiesce (for good or bad reasons, depending on how we’ve tried to gain their compliance).

Ultimately, the goal of communication is to produce changes in thinking and behavior. Yelling accomplishes the latter but not the former. Ultimate change in behavior that is long-lasting, must be preceded by a change in thought. Keep in mind the next time you feel frustrated and decide you can influence performance by yelling, you have become the impediment to change – not the cause of it.

(Michael McArdle is a Learning Research Specialist and the former Executive Director of the non-profit Learning Patterns Corporation. He writes, lectures, and conducts workshops on a variety of subjects dealing with the development of the human mind.)

Yelling parents lose control to get control and damage everyone.

Posted March 30, 2010

No question, parenting becomes more frustrating and anxiety provoking when your child enters adolescence.

Now there is more active and passive resistance (more argument and delay) in the way of getting what you want. And now there are more surprises and alarms as your son or daughter experiments with freedoms you never thought or hoped they’d try.

So it can be hard for parents to keep their cool come their son or daughter’s adolescence. “How many times do I have to ask you to get it done!” “You did what!” Now parents are more easily emotionally upset.

This is where parental yelling comes in.

Why do parents yell at adolescents? Probably for the same reasons children yell at parents. Both tantrums have the same objectives: to release emotion, to command attention, to show serious intent, and to force agreement. So if parents want their child to outgrow throwing tantrums, they have to outgrow the temptation to yell themselves. One young man explained his parents’ yelling at him this way: “My parents yell at me when they want loudness to solve the problem.”

Of course, parental yelling can work. More noise lets out more frustration and anger. More noise is harder to ignore. More noise means meaning what one says. More noise can intimidate the object of the yelling into compliance. The problem is, parental yelling comes with a number of costs.

Most parents injure self-esteem by yelling, allowing themselves to tantrum like a child to get their way, and they lose respect from their son or daughter in the bargain.

The yelling parent loses the capacity to listen in disagreement, so constructive dialogue is diminished as strong emotion replaces reason to broker conflict.

The emotional battering from being yelled at can hurt the adolescent’s feelings, threaten the young person’s safety, and alienate the relationship.

Fear and resentment from being yelled at can cause the adolescent to become more manipulative and dishonest in communication with the parent.

Yelling can encourage yelling back as conflict creates resemblance, the adolescent imitating the parental tactic, creating yelling matches between them.

Yelling can cause the yelling parent to choose and use intemperate words as weapons to deliberately injure the opposition, words that cannot be taken back and injury that no apologizing afterwards can mend.

While parents are attempting to strongly show they are serious about what they are saying, they are also weakly showing helpless desperation at not getting their way.

When parents lose control and yell to get control the young person ends up in control having been given the power to provoke their intense response.

And when parents say, “You make me so angry,” “You get me so upset,” “You leave me no choice but to yell,” they have just placed the adolescent in charge of their emotions, something they should never do.

Sometimes it’s helpful to remember that how parents treat their adolescent is how they treat themselves. For example, threaten their adolescent, and they treat themselves as a bully. Tip toe around their adolescent and they treat themselves as a coward. Scream at their adolescent and they treat themselves as a screamer.

So treat your adolescent in ways that cause you to feel good about yourself, and in ways you want your adolescent to treat you. For most parents, yelling accomplishes neither objective.

If you find yourself trapped in a pattern of yelling, break the habit by catching yourself before the yelling point, taking a time out to cool down and restore emotional sobriety, and then re-engage on more rational terms. When you do this, you are showing your adolescent how to control emotions without letting emotions control you.

And consider adopting a different cue than yelling to show you are serious about the issue at hand. Instead of using clamor, use calmness. Speak slowly and softly so your adolescent knows from the measured tone of your voice that the time for a serious discussion has arrived.

For more abour parenting adolescents, see my book, “SURVIVING YOUR CHILD’S ADOLESCENCE” (Wiley, 2013.) To do less yelling see my book about family conflict, “Stop the Screaming.” Information at: www.carlpickhardt.com

Next week’s entry: Safety warnings for your adolescent.

Most parents shout. We don’t even notice ourselves doing it half the time. Our voice just gets louder and louder. Or we do know we’re doing it, but at that moment it seems completely justified. After all, did you see what that kid did?!

But we all know that our kids respond better if we don’t shout. Shouting escalates a difficult situation, turning it from a squall into a storm. And really, how can you expect your child to learn to control his own emotions if you don’t control yours?

If, instead, we can stay calm, it settles everyone else down. We model emotional regulation. We’re able to intervene more effectively to solve the problem. Our child learns how to move herself from upset to calm. Our relationship with our child strengthens. He cooperates more. She starts to control her own emotions more.

And if we’re honest, we know it’s our own stuff that’s making us shout. Some parents (truly!) would look at the same behaviour and be able to stay empathetic or joke about it.

Because no matter how bad your child’s behaviour, it’s a cry for help. Sometimes the behaviour requires a firm limit, but it never requires us to be mean. And you can’t help your child while you’re shouting.

It isn’t easy to stop shouting. You can desperately want to and still find yourself screaming. If you were shouted at it takes tremendous work not to do the same thing. But if you know that you want to stop shouting, I assure you it’s completely possible – no matter how ingrained it is.

It’s not rocket science. it takes about three months. Like learning to play the piano, you start playing scales today, you practise daily and soon you can pick out simple tunes. in a year you can play a sonata. I’ve seen hundreds of parents do it.

Will it be hard to stop shouting? Yes. It doesn’t happen as if by magic. It takes constant, daily effort. no one can do it for you. not shouting may seems like a miracle, but this is something you can do.

If you keep working at it, some day you’ll suddenly realise that you can’t remember the last time you shouted. Want to get started?

Commit yourself.

Research shows that when we consciously, verbally ‘commit’ ourselves to a course of action, we’re likely to achieve it, especially if we work at it daily. By contrast, simply ‘wishing’ something would be different, or even ‘regretting’ things we’ve done, doesn’t usually change a thing.

So write down your intention (‘I will speak respectfully to my child’) and post it in a place where you’ll see it frequently. Picture how lovely it wlill be in your home when you don’t shout. Imagine yourself responding calmly – maybe even with a sense of humour! – to the things you shout about today. Keep revisiting that image.

Make the commitment to your family.

Here’s the catch. You have to commit yourself to someone else. Specifically you have to commit to your child that you intend to stop shouting, because your child is really the only person who will be there to keep you honest.

A bit scary? Yes. But you’re role modelling and if you want a child that doesn’t shout at you, this is the way to get there. So explain to your kids that you’ve decided to stop shouting. Make a sticker chart to reward yourself. At the end of every day your child decides whether you merit a sticker. This is what keeps you accountable.

(Are you against sticker charts for kids? So am I, because they teach the wrong lessons. But since parents have all the power in the family, this is a way to empower the child to hold the parent accountable. I’m not worried about teaching the parent the wrong lesson. Just don’t give in to the temptation to impose a sticker chart on your child for not shouting at the same time. He’s got less self-control than you do while he’s angry and he’ll learn best from your modelling.)

Stop, drop and breathe.

Do this every time you notice yourself raising your voice or about to raise your voice.

Stop talking, as soon as you notice yourself losing your temper.

Close your mouth. Can’t stop making noise? Hum, if you must, but close your mouth.

Drop it.

Really. Let it go for the moment. It’s not an emergency, (If it is, get everyone out of danger and then come back to this process). Just step away from the situation.

Breathe deeply 10 times.

Shake out your hands. This shifts you out of your ‘reptile brain’ – the fight, flight or freeze response – and into conscious presence. Now you have a choice about how to act.

Remind yourself: You’re the grown up and your child is learning from everything you do, right now.

Look at your child and say, ‘I’m working hard to stay calm. I don’t want to shout. Let me calm down and then we’ll try that again, okay?’

Do whatever works for you to calm your body’s fight-or-flight response.

More deep breaths, say a mantra, splash cold water on your face, look at your sticker chart. Remind yourself that your child is acting like a child because he is a child. Remind yourself that there’s no emergency.

Try again.

When you’re out of fight-or-flight, you’ll know because your child will no longer look like the enemy but like your own beloved baby, the one you’ve promised to cherish, love and guide positively so she grows into a loving, wonderful person. Now start the interaction again.

Hard, right? Very hard when you’re swept with neuro chemicals that tell you to attack. But simple. You just delay the interaction until you’re calm.

What if you find yourself shouting, despite your best efforts?

You will to start with – more than once. But it isn’t a mistake if you learn from it. Use each time you miss the mark as an opportunity to change something – about your routine, or your attitude, or your self-care – so you can do better next time. Support yourself so you can change.

This extract is taken from: Calm Parent Happy Kids: the secrets of stress-free parenting by Dr Laura Markham, (published by Vermilion, priced £12.99).