Do not yell at me

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Every teen shouts back! Read on to understand why…

Way back during my school days, there would be days when I wouldn’t complete my homework.  I was yelled at by my teachers because that’s how they could control us.  With every new memory of yelling, I was creating a script to yell in the future.

My growing years, my neighbours would fight.  There was considerable distance between our houses, but loud screaming could still be heard from their living room to our place.  The fight would begin between siblings or between siblings and parents and it was harsh words being pelted out in anger.  It seemed to me that whoever shouted the loudest had a better say…  So there have been times when I would yell at the top of my voice thinking that it is right and afterwards feel drained, upset and frustrated.  Should it always end up with high-pitched quarrelsome words?

Even without our knowledge, yelling becomes part of our behavior while coping with situations in life, but yelling is the most negative way to cope with situations of any kind, especially when it comes to dealing with children.

Today as an adult, sometimes when I arrive late from work and find my son sitting on the couch with feet on the centre table, playing a video game and eating junk and making a mess… most importantly, not doing his homework, I end up yelling and screaming at him.  (I am hungry and tired too!)  The casualness in his body language triggers anger and I shout at the top of my voice.

So often parents say, ‘I wonder if my child was deaf; they listen only when I yell at the top of my voice’.  Even though we don’t like yelling, we do it – and we do it a lot.  Teenagers scream and so do parents.

The question is why do we yell or scream?

We ask them to do something in a nice respectable way, but they choose not to act. So, we ask again nicely and still we don’t get a response, then finally we yell…  Our children choose not to respond to us because we have trained them to wait until we scream.  So often, it’s not the children but parents need correction to make a behavioral shift which will also get reflected in their children.

If you are a parent yelling at your kids most of the time, understand that it empowers your kids in a bad way, because it gives the message that you are not in control, and if you are not in control, they might assume that they are the ones in charge.  As how my teachers and my family and my neighbours passed on this yelling emotion, the vicious cycle continues to the next generation.  Let’s change this by adopting healthy ways to respond.

Mahatria says, ‘In the sway of emotions, intelligence does not work’.  And with every emotional yelling and screaming we are depriving the child to think logically and rationally.  This becomes a habit imbibed from childhood.

When screaming becomes the norm, we will indirectly teach children that screaming is a suitable response when you are frustrated or overwhelmed.  Well, it doesn’t teach anything positive, just that life is out of control and emotionally you are out of control.

Here are some anti-screaming strategies…  We need to try different approaches to change ourselves and the next generation.

Respectful atmosphere: When you want your children’s attention, walk to them.  Normally you would do it in an office or with other adults or in any context other than home!  This is respectful, mindful and much better way to get a relationship right than yelling.  Speak to your children softly, calmly and kindly, and your children will be more likely to respond positively because you have shown them respect.  They will also respond because they can’t pretend not to have heard you because you are standing right in front of them.

When screaming becomes the norm, we will indirectly teach children that screaming is a suitable response when you are frustrated or overwhelmed.

Wait before you react:  When emotionally hyped, its fine to wait for few minutes or even wait until the next day to come back and talk with your child about his inappropriate language or behavior.  Often, things with our kids are truly not that urgent.  Most of us scream for same minor things and waiting gives time to settle down the emotions for both the parent and child to think about a situation or incident independently.

Know your triggers: No one is perfect.  We all have our triggers.  There are no perfect days and, in the hustle and bustle of life we all have triggers, and often they are not the most rational things.  What sets them off?  Is it the casual look on the children despite having exam tomorrow?  Is it the feet on the centre table?  Is it the back talking habit despite their mistake?  Mess created?  All the time looking at a digital screen?   Check this out.  Teach yourself what you can do when you are triggered in order to respond more effectively.

Introspect: So often parents are correcting their children 24/7 seldom realizing that they also need to correct their behavior and responses.  Take a few moments to think rationally; think about how you would respond, when you get back home.  Decide that you will not yell, despite pending homework or the mess…  For the child to grow as an emotionally stable human being, give some time to yourself to unwind and then deal with his behavior.  So, if you know your triggers, you can plan your responses.  The goal is to stay calm and handle his behavior without losing control.

Correct or direct:  In my teens, if my mom calls my name, it would be for two reasons; either I am in trouble or I am going to be asked to do household chores.  This can be annoying for a teenager and enough reason for not responding to us because our communication with them is typically only towards endless correction or direction.  The remedy is to also plan no-agenda moments with them.

Strength of relationship: Children respond differently if we relate to them as friends.  Instead of shouting, try engaging in relationship building and creating happy memories and intensifying happy emotions of laughter, pride, confidence, smile, courage, mutual respect and you may find your children become much more open to being influenced by you when you speak to them, softly!

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