5 Alternatives to Yelling at Your Kids
I promised myself I wouldn’t be that kind of mom. The one that yells at her kids. I see those moms at the store and I secretly tell myself, “I’m so glad I’m not that kind of mom.” I quickly stop myself in my own tracks and rephrase my thought to “I’m so glad I’m not that kind of mom in public.” These thoughts are followed up by a short ride home in the swagger wagon and an immediate release of the impatient mama dragon once we are behind closed doors to make me quickly realize that……
I am that kind of mom…………..The one who yells at her kids.
It’s something that has been weighing heavy on my heart lately. I’ve been impatient and short-tempered for no other reason than my kids are acting like kids. Great excuse, right?
Now, I don’t think parenting is made up of flowers and unicorns all the time where we talk like Mary Poppins and give our kids rides on magical umbrellas. There are extremely justifiable situations where our kids need to hear us raise our voice in concern or frustration. Our kids should be disciplined appropriately and behaviors that are disrespectful, dangerous and unlawful should be changed immediately. How you do that is your choice and I won’t go into types of discipline in this post.
However, I do want to address those times when us tired mamas have lost the capacity for anything other than yelling. When we’re exhausted from housework, our careers, changing diapers, feeding mouths, managing budgets and oh my word if I hear someone call MOM one more time I may just SCREAM, kind of times.
For those times when yelling at your kids isn’t the best choice and probably shouldn’t be your first choice, I compiled a list of 5 alternative things to do instead. Will you give them a try with me?
Pray alone or with your kids. When your kids see you frustrated and then they see you pray instead of yelling, it sets an example for them. It inadvertently gives them tools for handling conflict. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate prayer. It can be as simple as “Dear Lord, quiet my heart and my tongue. Give me patience and help me show my children your love. Amen” Prayer works.
2. Create a code word
Be open with your kids (depending on their ages) and your spouse about your struggles with yelling. Let them know you want to make some changes and ask them for their support. Create a code word for when you are about to “lose it” and tell them what you need when you say the code word. For example: If I say the code word to my husband, it means I need to walk away and spend a few minutes alone, and please whatever you do for the love of all that’s left in me, don’t follow me to my secret alone time space.
I have a code word with one of my girlfriends. When I can’t handle things and I don’t know what else to do, I text her the word “Hi”. She knows what it means and she usually responds with something that I need to hear at that exact moment. Be creative!
3. Hug your kids
Sometimes we really do just need some affection. When I’ve been home all day with my kids and we all have cabin fever, and I’m ready to change my name from mom to something they can’t pronounce, and I swear I’ve repeated the same thing a thousand times….. a hug can really change my mood.
4. Call a Training Time Out
When I was in boot camp we had something called a Training Timeout. We could call this anytime we were injured or felt like we were going to pass out. It was also used by our instructors anytime someone was doing something unsafe. This was especially helpful on the gun range. During a Training Timeout, all activity would cease and we would wait for further instruction.
Teach your kids what to do during a Training Timeout. For example: When mom says “Training Timeout” everyone freezes like a statue. I guarantee that your kids will pick some sort of hilarious pose to freeze in and you won’t have any desire to yell anymore. Another example: when mom calls Training Timeout, everyone does 5 push ups or jumping jacks. A little physical activity can really change up your mood.
5. Yell with your kids
Say what? Yes, yell with your kids. For those times when you know yelling will feel real good just to get it out, yell with your kids instead of at them. Gather your kids around and yell together. Set a timer for 15-30 seconds and make it a contest. (This works best in your own home and on days when you don’t have a headache or a sleeping baby!)
Raising children is one of the biggest privileges we can have as women. We get the opportunity to teach little ones how to handle conflict and how to share the love of Christ to others. Parenting is also hard and unfortunately doesn’t come with an instruction manual. I truly believe that when we all share what works and collaborate on ideas together, we all win. As long as you’re trying, you’re not doing it wrong, even if you are “that kind of mom” just like me.