We’ve all done it. The kids have pushed us to our limit and in an attempt to gain control over an exasperating situation we scream at our kids. It’s not pretty, we’re not proud of it, but it happens to the best of us. Learning to control the volume of our voice is probably one of the hardest things to do but also one of the most important.
For starters, if you constantly yell, it’s ineffective. Your child learns to tune you out because it becomes a normal part of every day life for him. You’re screaming to get your point across but it is falling on deaf ears. It’s not a means to get his attention because it is routine. When we raise our voices, our child hears our voice, but not our words. We are much more effective when we get on eye level with our child, look in their eyes, ensure you have their attention and speak in a normal level tone explaining in words they can understand what you are attempting to convey to them.
I’ve heard parents justify spanking by saying that it is reserved for those times when they need to get their child’s attention immediately and stop an action that is harmful to them such as poking something in an electrical outlet or running towards the street. These are the times when shouting is justified. If a parent rarely raises their voice to their child, the rare occasion when it is necessary to stop an action it will indeed get their attention. The shout out will stop them in their tracks and then you can lower your voice and explain why they could get hurt by doing that. You can focus on the action without physically or emotionally hurting them.
Learn to control your urge to shout about everyday things. Take a deep breath and count to ten. Remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes until you have calmed down. It’s going to happen, but the less it does, the more effective it is. This is one of the problems that I had as a parent. I did not spank my kids, but I yelled. More than I care to admit now. It wasn’t often because I used discipline every day to teach my kids how to behave so they were really very good most of the time. There were times when I was exasperated and shouting relieved some tension for me. But it did nothing for getting my point across to my child. It wasn’t until I had calmed down and I had a discussion with her that she understood what I wanted her to understand.
To be frank, we don’t yell at our kids so that we can hear ourselves. We want them to hear and understand. Lowering your voice to a normal level increases the probability that your child will hear you and understand you.
Remember that rain grows flowers, not thunder.