How to stop yelling at your kid (or at least some ideas that I´m using)

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This parenting thing is so damn hard! But I´m determined to change myself in order to make it work.

Since I wrote that post about my own aggressive behavior towards my child, a lot have changed. Analyzing myself, rather than my child, has been really helpful.

In that post, I tell you how Luísa would hide under the bed when she didn´t want to take a shower and I´d be very mean about it. I decided since then to declare under the bed her safe spot – from me.

If she has to hide because I´m about to force her to do something, or because she´s scared about how I´m acting, then she´d better have a hide out.

I can´t pull her out of it anymore. I can wait for her to come out, I can invite her to come out, but I can´t be a total nut out of control and show her that here we do things my way.

I want to learn her boundaries and I want to be able to negotiate the things I expect from her like a diplomat. She deserves my respect, consideration, patience and loving guidance, not anything less. Even though at times I give her a lot less and I´m sorry for that.

This has proven to work amazingly well (respecting her hide out under the bed). When she runs to hide, I no longer feel threatened or disobeyed, I don´t take it personally (the same when she calls me stupid), I take a moment to think about what´s the best thing I could do to get us out of this fight. I practice non-violence and non-action.

Like one time when she wanted to eat peanuts and I don´t remember how harsh I was about not letting her, so she ran with the bag under the bed. I knelled down and calmly said: ¨It´s ok for you to eat the peanuts, I just didn´t want to have the floor dirty with the shells. You can use a plate or you can sweep it after you are done¨. And she said: ¨Ok¨.

Then, she screamed from under the bed: ¨Thank you!¨

I was caught off guard by that authentic appreciation from her, so I had to ask: ¨Thank you for what?¨

¨For letting me.¨

(She did sweep it after she was done and it´s been a while that she doesn´t hide from me)

Talking out loud about my struggle to control my own anger

The other day, she started to give me a hard time and started to hit me. I was keeping myself from getting hit, but I was getting really pissed off about it and I was starting to hold her wrists too tight. I was losing it.

I told her I was getting pissed off and I wanted to walk a block to calm myself down.

I said I was becoming very angry and I felt like hitting her back, but I´m learning to work on my feelings in a different way.

Talking out loud about my own process also helps me to act more consciously.

By the time we were outside the gate, I had my self-control back (If you want them to learn this, learn it yourself first). I didn´t even need the walk anymore, just some deep breathings did the trick. I got us ready for something else in the house and then to leave and no violence occurred. Uhuuu!

No kidding this is something that we have to celebrate when it happens, it´s a big shift for me to be able to humm, well… act like an adult is supposed to.

Readings that changed me

Aha Parenting  is the website I´ve been devouring for the last couple of months. It´s funny that now that I read so much and even reread a lot of the articles there, it all seems simple.

Dr Laura puts it well on this interview : ¨The question most parents ask is ¨How can I get my child to do what I want? How can I get my child to stop biting?¨ But actually there are questions that will help us and our child much more. Start with ¨What is my child signaling to me with her behavior at this moment and what does she need from me?¨

By helping the child with what she needs and not what we want from them, the behavior changes.

And still, responding is not always easy. I guess it´s easier to just yell and get immediate compliance by intimidation (which is what yelling, or threatening or  really is, let´s not call it disciplining) while thinking of a creative way to deal with a situation might seem more difficult.

But who said that parenting was easy? I´m sure that all the effort put into responding in a loving manner will be rewarded with a relationship based on cooperation.

Photo Credit

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on March 14, 2012. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.

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