Hands up, who has yelled at their child?
Who has yelled out of frustration?
I have yelled, a few times, ok probably more than a few times. Most of the time I yell out of frustration, most of the time it actually has nothing to do with the kid/s I am yelling at!
While I am well aware that yelling at my kids is completely ineffectual, sometimes I think it has to be done. It is almost like the exclamation point at the end of the sentence.
Let me give you an example.
The school bus leaves at 6h20 (it has been leaving at this time for 3 years).
I announce we need to leave at 6h10 and walk to the car. No one follows me. I go back to the house, remind the child we need to leave. NOTHING. I wait at the car, no one comes. I walk back inside and see a child ambling around packing bags. I urge the child to get ready so we can go and not miss the bus. And around we go until I yell – GET IN THE CAR NOW!!!!!!!
It does spark action and we eventually leave.
I can see all you gentle parents suggesting we let the child suffer the consequences of missing the bus but the reality of that is, I am the one who suffers because either I have to drive all the way to school or the child skips school. Doesn’t sound like there are any real consequences for said child in that scenario.
Maybe we should rather threaten and take something, like the phone, away. Will this really make any child get in the car on time? Maybe in your house but most definitely not in my house.
So, my conclusion is that sometimes you have to yell and sometimes it is ok!
But what do you do after you have yelled? Invariably I feel pretty crappy after yelling at the kids.
All of my children are now old enough for me to talk to about situations. After I have yelled we talk about what just happened. Sometimes it is a short “You need to get ready on time!” and other times it is a longer discussion about the behaviour that lead to the break down in communication.
With the younger kids, I ask them why I yelled at them. Every single time I have asked any of them, they have told me exactly what happened. We then look for possible solutions together. I ask them how I could have handled it better and what they could have done differently.
I find talking to them about what we can do better is the best way to deal with the aftermath of these moments. They offer suggestions for how we both could have dealt with it differently and we both try to figure out why they wouldn’t do what was asked. Emma and I do a lot of talking and when we are heading for similar situations, I remind her of what we discussed. It is not foolproof but it makes a difference in how the situation turns out.
I am also not above apologizing for yelling! I yell because I am frustrated and it escalates the situation and often ends with tears (theirs and mine). Once we are all calm, I apologize and explain what happened and why I yelled.
Taking a time out directly after you have yelled is always a good idea. It allows everyone to calm
down and assess the situation. Make some coffee, hide in the toilet, meditate, do whatever you need to to find your happy place. It is also a good idea for your kids to take a time out but it is not always possible. If you have had a bad morning ge
tting them into the car for school, once you are in the car try to do something fun, like singing. It helps to calm everyone down and when you arrive at school, everyone will feel less angry and aggressive.
Don’t beat yourself up if you turn into a fish wife every now and then. It happens. It happens to all of us. None of us like it and we all feel bad after it but it does get the kids in the car, the room cleaned, the socks picked up and once in a while it does get them to stop fighting.
I definitely do yell less than I used to when I was a new parent but it does still happen more than I would like it to. When I do, I try to shake it off, figure out the trigger and move on.